incunabulum


in·cu·nab·u·lum

noun \ˌin-kyə-ˈna-byə-ləm, ˌiŋ-\
plural in·cu·nab·u·la\-lə\

Definition of INCUNABULUM

1
:  a book printed before 1501
2
:  a work of art or of industry of an early period

Origin of INCUNABULUM

New Latin, from Latin incunabula, plural, bands holding the baby in a cradle, from in- + cunae cradle
First Known Use: 1849

Other Archaeology Terms

Attic, Byzantine, Paleolithic, cairn, core, flint, horizon, neolithic, shard, stratum

incunabulum

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Book printed before 1501. The date, though convenient, is arbitrary and unconnected to any development in the printing art. The term was probably first applied to early printing in general c. 1650. The total number of editions produced by 15th-century European presses is generally estimated at above 35,000, excluding ephemeral literature (e.g., single sheets, ballads, and devotional tracts) that is now lost or exists only in fragments in places such as binding linings.

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