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Legal Antiquities online


  • Project Duration : Since 2004
  • Head of Project : Elisabeth Vavra

Legal Antiquities' online Datatabase

A Virtual Collection of Historical Crime and Punishment Sources from Lower and Upper Austria

The initiative for the database RAT - RechtsAlterTümer / Legal Antiquities online was launched in 2004 on the occasion of the planned processing of the collection of legal antiquities at the “Oberöstereichisches Landesmuseum” Between 2004 and 2011 the entire holdings of the collection were scientifically analysed and published in the framework of the project “Shame, Torture, Execution. A Project for Reappraising the History of Law in Upper Austria.”. The aim of the working group was to bring legal historians and museums’ experts together with ambitious volunteer local researchers to compile an inventory of the country's legal antiquities in text and images.

The “Oberöstereichisches Landesmuseum” turned to IMAREAL for advice on the project and to support the data processing of the material. The implementation was based on the idea of a collaborative knowledge platform modelled on Wikipedia. Experts in the field of legal and regional history, museum staff as well as interested staff members should have the opportunity and be actively motivated to enter their knowledge independently in the database. Within the framework of the project, the research and registration was also extended to the area of today’s Lower Austria, where legal monuments from more than 200 places as well as edition “Niederösterreichische Weistümer” were incorporated into the database. The database contains information about legal archaeologically and historically relevant objects, buildings, image sources, written sources, events, field names, crimes and punishments from the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era.

The database has been available free of charge on the Internet since 2008. A revision of the data input functions and the improvement of the query options is currently in progress.