Aberystwyth University research into medieval wax seals
Researchers from Aberystwyth University will investigate finger and palm prints on the wax seals of documents dated between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The seals were the medieval equivalent of modern-day signatures and credit cards, and the imprint team is hoping they will provide insights into British society at that time.
The research will use material from cathedrals, the National Library of Wales and Westminster Abbey.
The study is due to take three years.
Dr Elizabeth New from Aberystwyth University said: "Seals were not just the preserve of kings and great nobles. Men and women from all levels of society also set their seals on documents.
"Medieval seals contained a variety of images and words, providing strong statements of identity and very valuable sources of information about people, culture and society.
"The images can tell us what things actually looked like, and provide glimpses of humour, piety and family pride. They also enabled otherwise illiterate men and women the means to 'write' their name."
The study has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will be co-run by Prof Philippa Hoskin of the University of Lincoln.