Early Science Manuscripts

Science Manuscripts from the Early Pre-colonial Era

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"Early Science Manuscripts" is a research project about the scientific heritage of South Asia in the pre-colonial period. It is funded at the University of Alberta as part of the Cosmopolitanism and the Local in Science and Nature project. This is an international research consortium funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada that brings together institutions in Canada, Europe and South Asia to explore the multiple origins and global circulations of knowledge.

One of the foundational issues facing researchers in the history of science is that of access to "the archive.” The documentation generated by Europeans in India offers an extraordinarily rich source for research. But the documentary archive of indigenous Indian-language materials is equally, if not more voluminous, diverse and informative. Scientific treatises on astronomy, medicine, mathematics, alchemy and other sciences were composed in Indian languages from the fifth century BCE onward, and this literature grew and specialized until the eighteenth century. However, finding aids for the indigenous archive are far less developed that those for European-language sources.

The aim of the present project is to document the archival manuscript sources for the history of indigenous science in India and Nepal, beginning with the rich manuscript collections identified by the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project.

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