Electra Atlantis: Digital Approaches to Antiquity


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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December 05, 2016

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

Accuracy vs. Precision in the Mycenaean Atlas Project

"You're traveling through another dimension, 
a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. 
A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries 
are that of imagination. That's the signpost up 
ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone."
Rod Serling

In a recent post I talked a little about how precise ideal lat/lon pairs are.  One thing I said was that a measurement to one one-millionth of a degree resolves to about four inches in latitude and longitude (4.4 in. in latitude equals 11.176 cm).  Any system that provides measurements like that is said to have a precision of one one millionth of a degree.   In that discussion I ignored the difference between accuracy and precision.  The lat/Lon pairs I provide from Google Earth have a precision of one one-millionth of a degree.  But there’s the additional question of Google’s accuracy.  Imagine that Google Earth was a giant machine for producing lat/lon pairs.   How accurate are those pairs when they come out of the machine? How close do these pairs come to an idealized model of the earth?  Do Google's numbers accuracy match their precision of representation? No.  It appears that they don't.

This is the same as asking how well Google has fitted its source photography to an ideal representation of the earth.  Do the photographs match the ideal grid of the earth itself?  This is a question worth asking because many operations have to be performed on the aerial photography before it’s presented on-line.

For a brief tour of orthorectification issues see this. In this study the authors checked how well Google's lat/lon pairs matched up with lat/lon pairs from a verified data set. The whole article is worth reading. Their conclusion?

"Using accurate field and photogrammetric measurements (extracted from a cadastral database) as the reference dataset and comparing them against well-defined and inferred locations (CPs) in GE’s medium and high resolution imagery, the estimated horizontal positional accuracy of GE’s imagery over rural areas (5.0 m RMSEr) was found to meet the horizontal accuracy requirements of the ASPRS (1990) for the production of “Class 1” 1:20,000 maps. "[1]

The RMSEr is an estimator of the standard deviation based on model results.  So you could, as a rule of thumb, think of 5 m. as the standard deviation of Google's modeling error.  This would mean that 68% of the time the Google lat/lon pair is within 5 m. of the actual position of the sought-after object and about 32% of the time it's further away than 5 m.

But the authors also add some cautions:

"However, the results also suggest that this accuracy requirement might not be met for rural areas if coordinates are extracted only from GE’s medium resolution imagery or from imagery collected before 2008. Furthermore, despite the results presented here, GE’s imagery should be used with caution due to the presence of large georegistration errors in both GE’s medium and high resolution imagery."[2]

In other words we are being warned against actual positioning and alignment errors in Google Earth's images. This can be easily seen if you pick a specific feature on an image and then drop a marker on it for each of Google's available images at that location. Let's look at an example. Here we have a church in Messenia called the Panagia (37.033444°, 21.737154°). If you look into the field across the road you see a circular field feature (I think that it's a well).

I brought up the 'Show historical imagery' slider and marked that well on each layer. The result was this:

Positions of a field feature based on four different available images in Google Earth
Here we see that the field feature (along with everything else) appears to drift and to appear to be associated to different lat/lon pairs depending on the date. The radius of the circle which includes them all is 11.32 meters. So, there's some surprising drift in Google's image alignments. Not fatal but something to take account of.

And just to emphasize what's going on I also show just the image from the May 20, 2003 plate:

Here the entire image has 'drifted' under the markers (which are fixed) until the
5/20/2003 marker is over the field feature.  Notice the displacement of the 'Panagia' label
which should be over the right-side building on the upper left.  This label is displaced nearly
22 m. from where it started.

So there are several potential sources of error in my DB lat/lon.  The first is the degree of Google’s fidelity to an underlying model of the earth's surface, the second consists of Google's alignment of its images. I should just wrap this up by saying that even though GE provides measurements with a precision of 10^(-6) or one one-millionth of a degree (i.e. about 4 inches) the accuracy it provides is, perhaps, a little better than 10⌃(-4) or one ten-thousandth of a degree which at 37 degrees north latitude is about 353 inches (8.96 meters). And this does not take into account imagery offsets.

The third kind of error is the error I introduce when I choose a lat/lon pair to represent a gazetteer entry.

For my general concept of my own 'Introduced' error let's say that we were looking for the field feature mentioned above (the well) and I had only this (entirely made-up) written description as to its whereabouts:

"The church of the Panagia is a kilometer or so to the northeast of the town of Myrsinochori. About 20 or 30 m. to the east of the driveway leading to the church there is a field feature which consists of a stone circle. It is about 10 m. south of the road ..."

Now, given that I could find the Church of the Panagia at all (it is 1200+ m. in a straight line from the northeast edge of Myrsinochori to the church and nearer 1500 m. by road) I would proceed to follow the directions and mark my field feature in good faith like this (I'm pretending that I can't actually see the feature in GE):

In this map the 'H Line' is 25 m. in length (halfway between 'twenty or thirty' meters).  The 'V Line' is 10 m. in length.  After having drawn both those lines (and, I emphasize, based on the written description) I would put a marker at the S end of the vertical line and advertise the lat/lon pair of that push pin as the location of the sought-for feature.  If I had really proceeded like this I might very well feel that my mark was within ten meters of the real feature.  And I would associate my lat/lon pair (at the yellow push-pin) with an introduced error term of ten meters.  In this case I drew a circle with a ten meter radius centered at the push pin.  This circle does, indeed, touch the field feature I'm trying to mark. 

This introduced error term is intended to reflect how well I think I’ve located the object of interest.  I have defined this error term as the radius of a circle, in meters, centered exactly at my lat/lon pair and which covers some part of the sought-for feature.   For example, if the feature can actually be seen in GE then I mark the feature and set the error term to zero.  In that case the "real" error is reduced simply to Google’s accuracy at that point. Given that the features are of various types a non-zero introduced error radius has several possible meanings.  If my introduced error term is ten then, finding yourself exactly at my lat Lon pair means that you are distant from the object by, at most, 10 meters plus Google’s error.  If Google’s error term is 5 meters then, in the worst case, you are fifteen meters away from the goal.  At best the two errors would offset and you would be 5 meters from your goal.

If I can’t see the feature but the description is constrained in some way, a cave opening or a narrow hill- or ridge-top, then I set the introduced error radius to 10, 20, or perhaps even fifty meters.  When the directions available to me are imprecise but I know generally where the feature “ought to be” then I’ll set the error radius to one hundred or two hundred meters. A feature on a "hill-side" would be the classic example.  Sometimes directions to a small site or find are described as being in a certain town.  In such a case, and with no additional info, I will put a marker on the town but set the error term to ‘N’ or ‘unknown’.   I hope it's clear, from the foregoing, that these introduced error radii are subjective only.  They are merely my opinion about how well I did after taking everything into account.  Of course, they’re not fixed in stone, either.  If I rethink an area or if I receive more accurate information from someone who’s been there then the error term can be driven to zero.  In that sense they’re simply a progress report of accuracy; ultimately my introduced error radii should all be driven to 0.

Remember that even small introduced error radii can specify very large areas.  An error radius of ten meters describes a circle with an area of 314 square meters or 3379.0 square feet which is about half the size of the average house lot.  In my DB that’s the best non-zero case.  A 20 meter radius specifies a circle with an area of about 1256 sq m. or 13519 square feet.  This is about the size of two average house lots.  A 30 meter radius specifies a circle of about 2827 sq m.  A fifty m radius a circle of about 7853 sq m.  If the error radius is 100 m then you should  imagine  a circle with the radius of a football field.  On rocky and rugged terrain (not unknown in Greece) such an object is still lost.  On flat terrain (the golf course at Pylos comes to mind) such a radius might be feasible.  Much larger than that and you should consider the object is still not found in any useful field sense and you’ll want to do additional research before going out to the field.

Finding something successfully also depends on what you’re looking for.  There’s a huge difference between looking for a plainly visible hilltop fort on the one hand or some area where, long ago, some researcher found a single sherd.  In the first case you may have sloppy and inaccurate directions but that makes no difference because you can see the feature from a kilometer away.  In the second case you may have directions that are accurate and precise; you may reach the exact spot and stand exactly in Richard Hope Simpson’s footprints and still not be confident that you have found the right place because, on the day you’re there, no sherds are visible.  In that case the error term takes on the subtle meaning of extent.  It indicates over how much area I think a reported sherd scatter should extend.  An introduced error term can also be interpreted as a degree of confidence. It can designate the area where I'm most confident of finding the feature but, granted, the desired feature may still be outside the circle.

This raises the question about what my lat/lon pairs are intended to facilitate, anyway.  What are they for?  First of all I hope that they can be of some assistance to students who are reading about the Mycenaean sites and have no prior familiarity with where those sites are.  I hope, also, that this DB can be of help to researchers that are planning to go into the field.  But it’s more than that.  My very strong feeling is that, in the field, and no matter what you find, whether it’s a worn, barely recognizable sherd or a palace complex, Datum One is where the object was found, exactly.    Why is location so important when generations of archaeologists have supposed it to be unimportant?  Location is important because only that can relate your specific find to everything else.  For example, how far is it on the average from a BA habitation to a water source?  What’s the standard deviation of that distance?  What’s the average elevation of a BA settlement, tholos, chamber tomb?  Is the average habitation above or below the average BA cemetery?  What’s the average distance from a habitation to its associated cemetery (when such an association can be determined)?  How many BA habitations do we know that were within 100 m of the ocean?  500 m?  1000 m?  Did the Mycenaeans live in the mountains?  What proportion of BA habitations were obviously maritime in orientation or were not so oriented?  How many habitations with a LHIIIB2 burn layer are there and how are they distributed, exactly?   How about some accurate and useful maps of all those variables?  

All of the foregoing questions are quantitative questions/problems/techniques and none of them can be answered without accurate locations, and not only that but accurate locations for every object site in the field of study.  In this respect, at least, every sherd is the equal in significance to every megaron.

Here's a practical example.  Earlier this year Dr. Michael Galaty sent me the URL for an article that he and his colleagues had written about Mycenaean civilization's place in the World System.  The article is here.  It is a very interesting article; part of its purpose is to calculate slopes around various Mycenaean locations in Messenia and in the Argolid.  To obtain the slope for a particular place you divide the change in altitude by the change in distance over which the altitude is measured.  Slope is really just the tangent of the distances involved; the lower the number the smoother the landscape; the higher the number, the steeper the landscape and when the slope approaches infinity you're dealing with a cliff or something like that.  Part of Dr. Galaty's intention was to show that Messenia and the Argolid differ with respect to the generalized concept of slope in their respective landscapes.  I only bring up his article in order to point out that he and his colleagues had to determine, one by one, the exact positions of the Mycenaean sites in which they were interested.  As he says:

"It was a difficult and time-consuming process to identify sites with the accuracy demanded by Geographic Information Systems (GIS), although Google Earth and Hope Simpson and Dickinson’s Gazetteer were indispensable resources in this regard. As a result, only some of the more important sites are included, and they may not be precisely located in our GIS. Though we did not visit each of them with a Global Positioning System (GPS), we are confident that our GIS database is accurate enough and our results meaningful."  (emphasis is mine)

I intend no criticism of this very useful article.  My feeling is just that it's too bad that Dr. Galaty and his colleagues did not have access to a large accurate database of Mycenaean find spots and, consequently, had to perform a lot of work to create the DB they needed. If they're having this kind of difficulty then everyone in the field must be having the same difficulty.

Mycenology is a science.  Experiments in science have to be repeatable.  The definition of repeatable also includes, at a minimum, 'locatable'.

Let's get Mycenology out of the Twilight Zone.


If you like these posts then please follow me on Twitter (Squinchpix) or on Google+   (Robert Consoli)

Anyone who wants a copy of my Mycenaean DB or an importable file to Google Earth with some 1400+ Mycenaean find-spots accurately located just leave a comment here or send me an e-mail at bobconsoli (at) gmail.com

By the way, I've just learned that Hope-Simpson and Dickinson's Gazetteer (1979) to which I've never had access (over $100.00 most places) is for sale, brand-new, by the publishers (Astrom Editions) for about 32 euro.  With shipping it should be around $40.00.  


[1] Paredes-Hernandez et al. [2013], p. 598.
[2] Idem.
[3] Galaty [2012], 450, 'Landscapes'.


Galaty [2012]: Galaty, Michael L. and William A. Parkinson, Daniel J. Pullen, Rebecca M. Seifried. "Mycenaean-scapes: Geography, Political Economy, and the Eastern Mediterranean World-System", in Physis. L'Environnement Naturel et la Relation Homme-Milieu dans le Monde Égéen Protohistorique, pp. 449-454 and Plates CXXXVII to CXLI. In Actes de la 14e Rencontre égéenne internationale, Paris, Institute National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA), 11-14 décembre 2012. Edd. Gilles Touchais, Robert Laffineur et Francoise Rougement. 2012. Online here.

Paredes-Hernandez et al. [2013]: Paredes-Hernandez, Cutberto and Wilver Enrique Salinas-Castillo, Francisco Guevara-Cortina, Xicotencatl Martinez-Becerra, "Horizontal Positional Accuracy of Google Earth's Imagery over Rural Areas: A Study Case in Tamaulipas, Mexico", Boletim de Ciências Geodésicas, vol.19 no.4 Curitiba Oct./Dec. 2013. Online here.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

LATIN PLACE NAMES found in the imprints of books printed before 1801

[First posted in AWOL 13 August 2011, updated 5 December 2016]

LATIN PLACE NAMES found in the imprints of books printed before 1801 and their vernacular equivalents in AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) form
A note on orthography: This database was compiled from the imprint information in cataloging records of several Anglo-American research libraries. Because these records were created over a long period of time and under different standards and rules of transcription, the orthography of the place names with respect to I/J and U/V/W does not necessarily reflect what was found in the original. Therefore, the orthography is standardized in this database. I/J will always be transcribed “I”; U/V will be transcribed “V” for upper case, and “u” for lower case; “VV,” “uu,” “Vu,” etc., will be transcribed “W.”

Main entry points for names are given in the locative case, as they generally appear in the books. Other forms, if they appear in early printed books, are given as cross references.

Places whose jurisdictions have changed over time may have more than one valid AACR2 form. Second and subsequent valid forms will be preceded by an equals sign (=). In the case of identical Latin forms that refer to different modern locations, the various AACR2 forms are presented without connecting equals signs.

Main entries accompanied by an asterisk (*) have a note giving the documentation for the place name. The main sources are:
  • R.A. Peddie, Place Names in Imprints : An Index to the Latin and Other Forms Used on Title Pages (1968) [cited as: Peddie]
  • J.G.T. Graesse, F. Benedict, and H. Plechl, Orbis Latinus : Lexikon lateinischer geographischer Namen des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (1972) [cited as: Graesse]
Additional Resources


New AMBROSIA Launched

New AMBROSIA Launched
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new union online catalogue AMBROSIA! Home to the catalogues of the Gennadius, Blegen, Wiener Laboratory, and the British School, the new Ambrosia is simpler and easier to use.
New features include the ability to limit your search to books or journals only in a general keyword search. 

One can conduct a more advanced search by author, title, series, subject, publication date, publication place and more. 

Users can even simply browse through the titles.

Each catalogue can be both searched through and browsed through independently.

Our favorite updated feature is the inventory of new books added to the collection, listed month by month. 

Try it out here.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

More on Mobilizing the Past

Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology is the most recent book from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota continues to produce downloads, sales, and page views. 

If you feel like the prospect of a free download or a $20 book is just too much of a commitment, then check out editor Jody Gordon’s summary of the book’s scope and perspective. He presented this paper at the recent American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting and released it to the world under a CC-By license. So rather than read something blather I’ve hacked out, go and read Jody’s summary.


(And if you’re still hungry for more, go and check out the next book from The Digital Press, Micah Bloom’s Codex. We’re doing a very quiet little conversation and preview here.)

Unnamed 4

Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

How The Los Angeles Times Transformed its Publishing Tools with a UX Design Approach

By H. Charley Bodkin

How The Los Angeles Times Transformed its Publishing Tools with a UX Design Approach

The backend interface of the Los Angeles Times’ liveblog publishing system in use on election day. The system powered its 2016 campaign coverage blog, the Trail Guide.

When I arrived at the Los Angeles Times two years ago, there was a real sense that editorial staff felt far removed from the system they used to publish news online. The content management system they were using was developed to satisfy the demands of creating and sharing content across many different media outlets throughout the country. The platform, which fulfilled the goal, seemed to leave reporters and their editors fending for themselves to wade through myriad unused form fields, copying and pasting stories between separate print and budgeting systems, and spending an inordinate amount of time writing and responding to a deluge of repetitive production-related emails.

Something had to give. The newsroom was dead set on moving away from a print-driven production cycle and writing conventions, to increasing its digital footprint and telling stories in new, creative formats on a more regular basis.

Time for a Change

A dedicated real-time desk, staffed by journalists from across the newsroom, was created to focus on reporting breaking news as it happened. Posting on events from around the L.A. metro area to national stories, the idea was to report on verified facts as they came in, supported by media from around the web—tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos—as well as charts and graphics produced by the Times. Still, the team sensed that their hands were tied by publishing tools designed for something else.

When the 2014 midterm elections rolled around, it became clear that we needed to do more. We needed something that would fit the look of our website, allow staff to report quickly, and allow for engaging elements like social media and graphics. Editors decided that a liveblog would be the best format. The Times, like many others had in the past, leaned on off-the-shelf embedded tools, but those came with limited SEO, pre-canned styling and workflows that weren’t geared for large news organizations.

So when the newsroom was faced with a problem lacking outside solutions, web producer Evan Wagstaff and digital designer Lily Mihalik got to work. Piggybacking off of a free-form HTML content type that the site’s CMS did offer, they created a simple code generator, with an admittedly rough interface, that anyone in the newsroom could use to stitch together various elements into well-designed “cards.” Initially though, it meant copying chunks of code into a stack. When copy or line editors had changes, Wagstaff was tasked with going back into a mountain of HTML to hand code the modifications. Not exactly the workflow boon people imagined.

But it didn’t matter— the liveblog looked great and readers loved the experience, triggering traffic that far surpassed expectations for midterm election coverage. Reporters and editors enjoyed having a tool that allowed them to easily capture fleeting moments from evolving stories, in ways that the typical article geared towards print couldn’t.

Screen shot

The earliest iteration of the Times' liveblog application used for the 2014 U.S. midterm elections.

With a prototype tested in the wild, we began to see the real value of our own tool. Having the ability to publish updates in an end-to-end editorial pipeline–from input interface to reader display–allowed for journalists to organize their thoughts on their terms. For example, editors could flag posts as being “called” which allowed readers to scan the list of cards to just see races that had a winner. Also, having a free form text box for categorization allowed editors to sort content as being related to California or national races to distinguish cards even further. In the future, these organizational features could be adapted for specific editorial goals for other events, like award show winners or football game scores.

Screen shot

Liveblog cards could be categorized depending on each event's particular needs, allowing readers to browse for important or relevant updates.

Proving the concept, we knew, wasn’t going to be enough. We needed to make the workflow of creating and editing cards much easier to really get reporters and editors on board. And to adopt the new tool for other types of coverage, like planned events or breaking news. We needed to iterate.

If There’s an API, There’s a Way

At the time, I was an intern looking for a project to sink my teeth into. I knew, along with the rest of the team, that if we put some care into designing not only the reader experience, but also how journalists interacted with the liveblog, we could start bridging the disconnect many in the newsroom felt between the existing toolset and the need to tell stories in new, relevant ways. So, with some of my time cut out from my regular duties, I jumped in to help solve some of the basic workflow problems we were facing from the cobbling together of big blocks of relatively complex HTML and JavaScript.

Thankfully, as any techie knows, if there is an API, there is a way. Sure enough, we had access to an API to talk to our CMS. Within a couple months, we had a small Python Django app that automated away the need to copy and paste code into a stack of other liveblog cards.

Screen shot

The group instant message app, Slack, is used in place of email to automate workflow notifications for copy and line editing.

From there we slowly started to build up more logic to handle publishing JSON to Amazon’s storage solution, S3, to enable pushing updates to readers as they were produced, instead of on refresh. To facilitate a better workflow, we started notifying copy desks automatically when new cards were ready to be edited, first by email, then by Slack a short time later.

Meanwhile, at every step of the way we kept getting direct feedback from staff on their experience using the app to inform the front-end design. Carefully, we designed each part of the production interface to be relevant to journalists. Everything from the labelling of form fields to the placement of buttons was considered through the lens of editorial goals. Emphasis was placed on previewing what readers would ultimately see in order to focus producers on the end-product instead of on just punching the right buttons and checking the right boxes.

Screen shot

Each aspect of the interface was designed to encourage engaging liveblog posts. Widgets allowed for variety within each update, form fields were limited to free users up to focus less on process and more on content, and a WYSIWYG preview was prominent to emphasize what readers would see.

Seeing the Potential

It wasn’t long before the liveblog began powering coverage that had never been anticipated. Midway through 2015, as presidential hopefuls began announcing their candidacies, the Times launched a daily blog dedicated to covering the 2016 election, named Trail Guide. Using the liveblog, politics staffers were able to cover campaign moments as they occurred and aggregate longer stories and analyses, giving readers one place to follow the race.

By the fall of 2015, we realized that journalists enjoyed working with the platform and were starting to stretch the limits of what a “liveblog” was. Seeing the potential in the approach, Times managing editors decided they wanted the team to build a new tool to encompass more production needs. So designers and developers huddled, and pretty soon the creation of a more general purpose storytelling app was underway.

Touching on more aspects of the production cycle than the liveblog, the new tool would have to accommodate the workflows of not only digital staffers, but also photographers, print designers, and section editors. And instead of being created for smaller pieces of content, it would become the dedicated writing and editing platform for daily articles and long-form narratives. With the larger scope in mind, Wagstaff, Mihalik, product developer James Perez, and Data Desk editor Ben Welsh, set out to build it.

Rolling Out a New System

Screen shot

SNAP launched to Times staffers in the spring of 2016, fusing story production with print, budget, and communication systems.

Six months later, the newly christened SNAP, or Simple News Assembly Platform, rolled out to sections across the Times’ newsroom and bureaus. It tied together several disparate systems that teams relied on to budget, to communicate, and to produce the print paper. The volume of production-related emails dropped enormously and the need to copy and paste between tools lessened. Finally, the Times’ journalists had a voice in designing the systems they worked with each and every day.

The Times’ parent company, Tronc, took notice, too. Executives enlisted developers from other projects to work on SNAP to bring it to its other publications, which include among others, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the San Diego Union-Tribune. Several are now using SNAP, and the work to add more is underway.

For those interested, SNAP does not have its own database, as it serves primarily as an interface between several APIs. It fuses numerous production and communication systems: our CMS, which is used to authenticate users and to read and write stories; Slack, to notify various production groups about the status of stories; Desk-Net, for scheduling budgets; and CCI’s NewsGate, for print design. It uses Backbone.js to model data from the servers on the client side and provide a framework for views and History API URL routing. Flask powers the server to handle client requests and facilitate API communication.

Intuitive Publishing Software = Better Journalism

No feature is sacrosanct. Just as every article the Times publishes goes through several layers of rigorous checking, editing, rearranging, and improving, so do our applications. When staff members come to us with questions, suggestions or feedback, we step back and evaluate how we can make their experience better. When I see us revisit a confusing modal or look at why a new feature isn’t being understood, I’m reminded that shedding attachment to the first idea (sometimes even the second or third idea) can actually be quite liberating and spur some amazingly creative solutions.

The Los Angeles Times’ unlikely journey to designing and developing its own software stemmed from a realization that having reporters and editors feel at home with their tools is a crucial step to publishing great journalism. When someone, anyone, depends on a piece of software for their job that’s limiting, inefficient or designed for different purposes, their day-to-day work experience suffers. Creative energy gets diverted to debugging technical issues, remembering the order of buttons to click, or onboarding new people with lengthy instructions. And when it comes to time, it’s truly a zero-sum game. If someone spends 10 minutes an hour on solving mundane technical problems, that’s 10 fewer minutes they can spend on imagining creative solutions to problems and tasks they’re actually being paid to solve. Journalists are no different. When you couple great journalists with intuitive systems that enable expressive storytelling, the resulting stories are all the more compelling and have readers coming back wanting more.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: The Societas Magica Newsletter

[First posted in AWOL 14 December 2011, updated 5 December 2016]

The Societas Magica Newsletter
The Societas Magica is an organization dedicated to furthering communication and exchange among scholars interested in the study of magic, both in the positive contexts of its expression as an area of necessary knowledge or religious practice (as in early modern occultism and contemporary paganism), and in its negative contexts as the substance of an accusation or condemnation (as in sorcery trials, and many philosophical and theological accounts, both early and late). The interests of our membership include, but are not limited to, the history and sociology of magic; theological, and intellectual apprehensions of magic; practices and theories of magic; and objects, artifacts and texts either qualified as magical by their creators, or forming the substance of an accusation of magic by others.

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Women, Ritual, Power, and Mysticism in the Testament of Job
Rebecca Lesses
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Ciphers and Secrecy Among the Alchemists: A Preliminary Report
Agnieszka Rec
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Warding Off Doom in Mesopotamia and the Bible
Marian Broida
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Objects as Demonic Subjects in Spiritual Warfare Handbooks
Sean McCloud

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A Report on Current Magical and Esoteric Blogs
Laura Mitchell
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Bewitched in their privities: Medical Responses to Infertility Witchcraft in Early Modern England
Jennifer Evans
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Purification in the Papyrae Graecae Magicae
Jonathan Shen
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Magic as the Basis for Social Cohesion in pre-Islamic Mesopotamia
Siam Bhayro
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Some Observations on Jewish Love Magic: The Importance of Cultural Specificity
Ortal-Paz Saar
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Clerical Magic in Icelandic Folklore
Thomas B. de Mayo
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Developing a Curriculum on the History of Esotericism and Magic in Colombia
Johann F.W. Hasler
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Magical Letters, Mystical Planets: Magic, Theosophy, and Astrology in the Sefer Yetsirah and two of its Tenth-century Commentaries
Marla Segol
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Theses de magia
Marco Pasi
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Up on the Roof: Understanding an Anglo-Saxon Healing Practice
K. A. Laity
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The Key of Solomon: Toward a Typology of the Manuscripts
Robert Mathiesen
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Real, Apparent and Illusory Necromancy: Lamp Experiments and Historical Perceptions of Experimental Knowledge
Robert Goulding
File Size : (2676.0 Kbytes)
“Pictures passing before the mind’s eye”: the Tarot, the Order of the Golden Dawn, and William Butler Yeats’s Poetry
Anke Timmermann
File Size : (4245.0 Kbytes)
Approaches To Teaching the History, Practice, and Material Culture of Magic: A Roundtable on Pedagogy
Amelia Carr
File Size : (2114.0 Kbytes)
Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages
Catherine Rider
File Size : (838.0 Kbytes)
What is and is not Magic: the case of Anglo-Saxon Prognostics
Roy M. Liuzza
File Size : (1886.0 Kbytes)
Islamic Magical Texts vs. Magical Artefacts
Emilie Savage-Smith
File Size : (799.0 Kbytes)
A Magic All Its Own
Michael D. Swartz
File Size : (1307.0 Kbytes)
John of Morigny's Liber Visionum and a Royal Prayer Book from Poland
Claire Fanger and Benedek Láng
File Size : (2125.0 Kbytes)
Images of Desire
Geoffrey McVey
File Size : (412.0 Kbytes)
Magic in the Cloister
Sophie Page
File Size : (1400.0 Kbytes)
Encounters with Amulets
Peter Murray Jones
File Size : (291.0 Kbytes)
Issue on Pedagogy
Carol Menning
File Size : (49.0 Kbytes)
The Warburg Institute: History and Current Activities
Will F. Ryan
File Size : (48.0 Kbytes)
Sessions and Papers on magic at Kalamazoo
Claire Fanger
File Size : (45.0 Kbytes)
A Report on Recent Work on Charms
Lea Olson
File Size : (43.0 Kbytes)
Introduction of Societas Magica Newsletter
Richard Kieckhefer

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Computational Color Imaging Workshop: aperta la call for papers

Aperta la Call for Papers per il sesto "Computational Color Imaging Workshop" che si terrà a Milano dal 29 al 31 marzo 2017.

L'esperienza dei ricercatori nei laboratori dell'infrastruttura E-RIHS

Mecoledì 14 dicembre alle ore 10 a Lucca si svolgerà l'incontro con i ricercatori di E-RIHS, che raccontano la loro esperienza nei laboratori fissi e mobili dell’infrastruttura IPERION CH.it e illustrano i risultati del loro lavoro alle prese con l’arte: esami diagnostici su quadri, sculture, mosaici, etc. eseguiti con il supporto delle strumentazioni e delle competenze di IPERION CH.it.

December 04, 2016

Robert Consoli (Squinches)

In Memoriam Richard Hope Simpson

Ulysses deriding Polyphemus
J.M.W. Turner, 1829
London National Gallery

Richard Hope Simpson passed away on November 11 of this year. There's a notice on the website for the British School at Athens.

For the last year I have spent countless hours in his company or, rather, in the company of his books.  He taught me much and I am forever in his debt.

He loved Homer and he loved Greece.  What better epitaph?

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Iberia-Kolxetʻi : Sakʻartʻvelos klasikuri da adremedievuri periodis arkʻeologiur-istoriuli kvlevani = Iberia-Colchis : researches on the archeology and history of Georgia in the classical and early medieval period

 [First posted in AWOL 21 September 2014, updated 4 December 2016]

Iberia-Kolxetʻi : Sakʻartʻvelos klasikuri da adremedievuri periodis arkʻeologiur-istoriuli kvlevani = Iberia-Colchis : researches on the archeology and history of Georgia in the classical and early medieval period
ISSN: 1512-4207
Iberia-Colchis იბერია-კოლხეთი (Researches on the Archaeology and History of Georgia in the Classical and Early Medieval Period)

C’est une revue géorgienne consacré à l’archéologie et l’histoire anciennes et médiévales de la Géorgie. [Description from here]

2016Iberia-Colchis N12გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2015Iberia-Colchis N11გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2014Iberia-Colchis N10გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2013Iberia-Colchis N9გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2007Iberia-Colchis N3გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2008Iberia-Colchis N4გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2011Iberia-Colchis N7გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2010Iberia-Colchis N6გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2009Iberia-Colchis N5გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

2012Iberia-Colchis N8გამყრელიძე, გელა; Gamkrelidze, Gela

December 03, 2016

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Collecting all ancient texts referring to the gift of tongues

Charles A. Sullivan writes to say that his Gift of Tongues Project is up and running:

 It has been a while, but I have the majority of ancient church writings located, digitized, organized, and analyzed for the Gift of Tongues Project. Of course, there is always more to do, but a sound framework is in place. Here is the actual source texts along with some other apparatus.

This is a new website, and a useful resource.  While the Charismatic movement of the 1980s has faded rather, the basic idea – just what do the early Christians say about the gift of tongues – is a subject that will appeal to many.

Well done.

A previously unknown governor of Judaea

Via Haaretz (beware incredible amounts of popups, popunders and other junk), an excellent article gives us the following information:

Divers find unexpected Roman inscription from the eve of Bar-Kochba Revolt – A statue base from 1,900 years ago found at Dor survived shellfish and seawater, and to the archaeologists’ shock, revealed a previously unknown governor of Judea.

An underwater survey conducted by divers off Tel Dor, on the Mediterranean Sea, yielded an astonishing find: a rare Roman inscription mentioning the province of Judea – and the name of a previously unknown Roman governor, who ruled the province shortly before the Bar-Kochba Revolt.

Historians had thought that based on Roman records, the leaders Rome imposed on its provinces were all known.

The rock with the 1,900-year-old inscription was exposed by a storm on the seabed at a depth of just 1.5 meters in the bay of Dor. The town had been a thriving port in Roman times that even minted its own coins, which proudly proclaimed the city to be “Ruler of the Seas”.


Found by Haifa University archaeologists surveying the remains of the ancient Roman harbor at Dor in January 2016, the rock, 70 by 65 centimeters in size, was partly covered in sea creatures when it was found.

The statue base found on the seabed at Dor is only the second known mention of the province of Judea in Roman inscription. The other is the “Pontius Pilate stone” dating to around 100 years earlier. Discovered by archaeologists in 1961 at the ancient theater in Caesarea, it is a rare piece of solid evidence mentioning Pilate, prefect of Judea, by name.

The newly found inscription, carved on the stone in Greek, is missing a part, but is thought to have originally read: “The City of Dor honors Marcus Paccius, son of Publius, Silvanus Quintus Coredius Gallus Gargilius Antiquus, governor of the province of Judea, as well as […] of the province of Syria, and patron of the city of Dor.”

The name Gargilius Antiquus had been known from another inscription previously found in Dor – as the governor of a province whose name was missing from that inscription. So far, reconstructions have suggested either Syria or Syria-Palaestina as the province he was governing. Dr. Gil Gambash, head of the Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, and Yasur-Landau were excited to read on the new inscription that Gargilius Antiquus was in fact the governor of Judea, shortly before the Bar Kochba Revolt.

The inscription outing Gargilius Antiquus was apparently the base of a statue, going by the tell-tale marks of small feet incretions on its top.

The putative statue has not been found, but it could plausibly have been of Gargilius Antiquus himself, who was not only the province’s governor but also a patron of Dor, as the inscription states.

During Israel’s War of Independence, in 1948, another statue base fragment was found at the east gate of the ancient city of Dor, with writing that reads: “Honored Marcus Paccius, son of Publius…Silvanus Quintus Coredius Gallus Gargilius Antiquus, imperial governor with Praetorian rank of the province Syria Palaestina”.

Clearly the Roman emperor, in this case Hadrian, had appointed Gargilius Antiquus as governor of the province of Judea, somewhere between 120 – 130 C.E. (perhaps around 123 C.E., succeeding Cosonius Gallus). …

(I was going to look up the other inscription, and compile the data; but I see that David E. Graves has already done this, with photographs and references, in his fine article here.)

This sort of discovery should be a constant reminder to us of a basic principle of archaeology.  Absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence.  We must never use lack of archaeological evidence as a reason to ignore literary evidence.  Only positive archaeological evidence may be used to confute an ancient mistake.

Our knowledge of the sequence of ancient officials is not comprehensive, however impressive it may look in a nice printed modern edition.

Many of these lists are compiled by guesswork.  We know how long a normal appointment would be; we have a number of people which seems about the right number in the right order; and there is suddenly “no room” for another one.

But in reality people are people.  Governors are called home unexpectedly for personal or political reasons, and a stand-in holds their post for an irregular period of time until another can be sent out.

It is a terrible anachronism to imagine the Roman empire as being like a modern state.  It was not.  Communications and travel were slow and difficult, as it was in Europe until comparatively recently.  Administration was loose.  Law could be, and was, enforced capriciously.  We can never say with confidence that such-and-such could never happen; only that with our limited knowledge, we do not think it accords with what we already know.

At this Christmas season, many of us will think of Luke 2:1-2:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

How much ink has been spilt, to show that Luke – and hence the bible! – is wrong at this point; or, alternatively, that it is not.  The choice made, in this as other political or religious matters, depends in both cases all too often on the prejudices of those writing.

This stone, hoisted out of the sea, is a reminder that we know much, much less than we think we do.  Only one stone records Pontius Pilate’s governorship.  Only one stone records Gargilius Antiquus’ tenure.

Nothing is gained by pretending knowledge that we do not have; or arguing from what we do not know.  Five minutes in a time machine would undoubtedly shatter our preconceptions of the ancient world in a million ways.

When the data is contradictory, we may decide to discard bits of it, especially when it fits our modern eyes.  But this we must avoid.  Contradictory data from antiquity always, always means that we have a little window into a situation which is more complex than the sources that have reached us reveal.  Let us hold lightly to our theories.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

New Open Access Journal: In-Scription: revue en ligne d'études épigraphiques

In-Scription: revue en ligne d'études épigraphiques
La revue In-Scription: revue en ligne d'études épigraphiques propose de créer le premier lieu de publication en ligne de textes scientifiques consacrés à l'étude des écritures médiévales en dehors du monde manuscrit, et en particulier à celle des inscriptions médiévales. Elle est animée par l'équipe du Corpus des inscriptions de la France médiévale de Poitiers (CESCM) et entend favoriser la publication dans des délais courts de textes originaux en français et en anglais, produits notamment par de jeunes chercheurs. Un comité de lecture évalue la qualité et la pertinence des textes et sollicite des expertises extérieures le cas échéant. Le responsable prépare la publication en lien avec les auteurs et le webmaster. La revue entend publier les textes au fil de l'eau afin de mettre les textes le plus rapidement possible à disposition d'une communauté scientifique qui possède aujourd'hui assez peu de journaux spécialisés.

Open Access Book: Das Mausoleum von Belevi

Das Mausoleum von Belevi

Author: Ruggendorfer ,Peter
ISBN: 9783700177586 Year: 2016 Pages: 576 Seiten Language: de
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Subject: History of arts --- Arts in general --- Architecture --- History --- Archaeology --- Religion --- Social Sciences --- Zoology --- Biology --- Geology --- Earth Sciences
Abstract The current volume of the Forschungen in Ephesos presents the concluding results of the recent archaeological and art-hisorical investigations at the monumental tomb in the hinterland of Ephesos. The date ot the Mausoleum can be fixed accumulative between 310 and 280/70 BC and following the interpretation of references regarding the monument`s dedication and the sources for the historical events Antigonos I. Monophthalmos is recognised as the newly identified personality to whom the Mausoleum belonged.
Der aktuelle Band der Forschungen in Ephesos ist den abschließenden aktuellen archäologischen und kunsthistorischen Untersuchungen an dem monumentalen Grabbau im Hinterland von Ephesos gewidmet. Auf Basis des akkumulativ gewonnenen Datierungsansatzes in die Jahre 310 bis 280/270 v. Chr., der Interpretation der am Monument angetroffenen Hinweise auf den Stifter und der Analyse der Quellen zur Ereignisgeschichte wird Antigonos I. Monophthalmos als neuer Grabherr des Mausoleums vorgeschlagen.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

One of the challenges I have when doing research is focusing my work and narrowing the topic. I do not think this is an unusual issue to have. However, it is one I have struggled with this past month. I think this is obvious from my last post.
When I first talked with Ethan about my possible topics for this project, we talked about narrowing it; however, we also discussed some other potential areas of research and I left our conversation with even more ideas than I had going into it. Ethan pointed out that one of the challenges in my project ideas is the relative paucity of research for me to lean on for my project, but there is so much potential in what I can do and there is much to explore.
This is part of the challenge. I keep finding myself being distracted by the openness of the topic: I understand and know the need to make sure my project is contained and focused, but I keep seeing all the open space beyond it. So, as I limit my topic to aspects of rhetorical sovereignty around Idle No More and Standing Rock, I see the issues of water, oil corporations, Native American studies, treaty law, government, tribal and community alliances, gender studies, as well as the linguistic and rhetorical structures and patterns that are present in these areas of study on the activist movements I am working with in my project.
One of the things I have been struggling with is thinking about what topic I want to explore after this project is completed. I want to set it up to make it easy for me to add on to it later. This, too, means I am aware of the open areas beyond the limited scope of this project as I see potential connections in my future studies. However, these decisions are difficult to make, as they are all interesting subjects that I want to delve into and explore. In the meantime, I continue to focus and try to not get distracted by the space all around me.
But, then again, …

December 02, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Greek and Latin Project of the Open Philology Project

Open Greek and Latin Project of the Open Philology Project
The ultimate goal is to represent every source text produced in Classical Greek or Latin from antiquity through the present, including texts preserved in manuscript tradition as well as on inscriptions, papyri, ostraca and other written artifacts.  Over the course of the next five years, we will focus upon converting as much Greek and Latin, available as scanned printed books, into an open, dynamic corpus, continuously augmented and improved by a combination of automated processes and human contributions of many kinds. The focus upon Greek and Latin reflects both the belief that we have an obligation to disseminate European cultural heritage and the observation that recent advances in OCR technology for Greek and Latin make these intertwined languages ready for large-scale work.

The Open Greek and Latin Project aims at providing at least one version for all Greek and Latin sources produced during antiquity (through c. 600 CE) and a growing collection from the vast body of post-classical Greek and Latin that still survives. Perhaps 150 million words of Greek and Latin, preserved in manuscripts, on stone, on papyrus or other writing surface, survive from antiquity. Analysis of 10,000 books in Latin, downloaded from Archive.org, identified more than 200 million words of post-classical Latin. With 70,000 public domain books listed in the Hathi Trust as being in Ancient Greek or Latin, the amount of Greek and Latin already available will almost certainly exceed 1 billion words.

Where existing corpora of Greek and Latin have generally included one edition of a work, Open Greek and Latin Corpus is designed to manage multiple versions of, and to represent the complete textual history of, a work: every manuscript, every papyrus fragment, and every printed edition are all versions within the history of a text. In the short run, this involves using OCR-technology optimized for Classical Greek and Latin to create an open corpus that is reasonably comprehensive for the c. 100 million words produced through c. 600 CE and that begins to make available the billions of words produced after 600 CE in Greek and Latin that survive.

Open Greek & Latin Texts

A collection of machine-corrected XML versions of classical authors and works, freely available to download and reuse. For more information, click on the tabs below. Texts are published in GitHub on an ongoing basis. Watch this space and our Facebook page for updates.


The works of Athenaeus of Naucratis, Greek rhetorician and grammarian.


A selection of Church Fathers.


English translations of classical works.


An undefined collection of TEI and EpiDoc versions of classical texts.


The Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca.


The Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum.


A Collection of classical fragmentary authors and works.


Italian translations of classical works.


The Patrologia Latina.


The Catenae Graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum.


The Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum.


French translations of classical works.


The works of the Greek rhetorician Libanius.


The works of Philo Judaeus, the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher.

Karanis Housing Project

Karanis Housing Project
Karanis was a Greco-Roman town located in Egypt's Fayoum Region. Founded in the third century BCE, the town remained inhabited until the fifth century CE. A small population of Roman mercenaries lived in the primarily agrarian town, where sustenance farmers produced crops such as wheat, barley, olives, figs, and walnuts. Alexandria, one of the major centers of Roman trade, lay a mere 124 miles to the north of Karanis, making this small, rural town a gateway to more populated and urban areas.

The site was primarily excavated by a team from the University of Michigan, lead by Francis W. Kelsey, in the 1920s. However, Kelsey was not the first person to show interest in Karanis; local farmers had been obtaining government permits to remove nitrogen-rich soil from the site to use as fertilizer (sebbakh) up until the early twentieth century, and the papyri they inevitably unearthed caught the attention of English scholars Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt, who completed minor excavations of the site in 1895 before moving to a different site. As a result, Kelsey and his team were forced to work around whole swaths of the town that had been destroyed by earlier activities -- most notably, an area right in the center of the Karanis mound. The Michigan team completed a wonderfully thorough excavation of the areas that remained intact, cataloging each artifact and making careful note of where exactly each item was discovered. This provides crucial information to archeologists and classicists who wish to consider artifacts in their original contexts.

The Karanis Housing Project seeks to bring this valuable information into the twenty-first century by digitizing the dig and making a comprehensive list of finds easily accessible and searchable online. While still in its early stages, the model developed based on data from Karanis will eventually be applied to other excavations, providing a way to analyze finds and query specific artifacts that is far more user-friendly than sifting through boxes of field notes.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Naughty Norris

While my project has changed, I am still trying to figure what the UI of my website will be. City plans tend to be static and insipid unless you are a city planner/architect/urban designer in which you start critiquing it. But I am getting ahead of myself. Currently as it stands my project will try and understand the connections between cities and infrastructural projects such as dams. My test site is the town of Norris in Tennessee built by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Today, parts of Norris are on the National Register for Historical Places. In trying to bring out connections between cities and infrastructure, I think it is important to bring out human stories. I anticipate using photographs (from the Library of Congress FSA collection) to think about the urban form. One of underlying aspects of my project is to try and analyze Norris for what it is — a model company town that embodied a certain utopia.

So then what is the story? Simply put the story is to try and think about the relationships between cities and infrastructure through people’s lives.

Meet Norris!

Town Plan of Norris


The chief architect of the Norris idea was TVA Chairman Arthur Morgan. On paper, Earle Draper, was the town planner. The immediate purpose of the town was to house the workers building Norris Dam about four miles away on the Clinch River. The second subliminal goal might have been to show America that how cooperative living might work.

The houses in Norris were supposed to be built on a modest and tasteful scale, with an eye to community as much as comfort. In design, they were to balance the traditions of the Tennessee Valley (building materials of natural stone and native cedar, and a porch on every house) with modern conveniences. It is important to remember that at the time of its construction, the region around Norris was less than 10 percent electrified. Norris on the other hand was to be fully electric, with ceiling heat and refrigerators in every home.

Norris Town Center

Norris was also supposed to be a completely walkable town. Modelled around the garden city concept, the town would be surrounded by a buffer zone of protected, undeveloped forest that would keep the ugly outside world at bay. Thus the people of Norris would in theory be able to visit their neighbors, walk to school, the grocery store etc—all without getting into a car.

As I research though I am beginning to think about the user experience. Right now my idea is to create a website where users can use the city plan to navigate the lives of the people who lived in the town through clickable icons. In addition, longer essays would be cross linked. One of the ideas I am kicking around is to create a 3D model of the city plan that users could interact with on the website.

However, I am looking for new ideas, so any ideas would be most welcome!





Workshopping: How to Model Variation

As a variationist sociolinguist, my research focuses on the way language varies and changes in communities of speakers and concentrates in particular on the interaction of social factors (such as a speaker’s gender, ethnicity, age, degree of integration into their community, etc) ModelingVariationand linguistic structures (such as sounds, grammatical forms, intonation features, words, etc). As such, when trying to visually represent and statistically model the effects of various variables, many a variationist has simply defaulted to a statistician, throwing in the towel and hanging our head in shame.

Thankfully, I think my field has found a savior and is finally able to walk out of the dark ages.  I attended a workshop at the latest conference I attended (NWAV 45) and learned how to model variation through the use of an interactive application built as a Shiny app with various statistical and graphical R packages (a programming language I am already quite familiar with).  The Language Variation Suite “allows one to handle imbalanced data, measure individual and group variation and rank variables according to their significance”.  The best thing about this suite is that it is easy to use and requiring minimal programming skills.  Much of the interface requires only a drag/drop process.

I am in the process of writing my second qualifying paper for my degree and have low-key been procrastinating because I have had no idea how to deal with the interaction of all the variables I care about.  This suite has come at the perfect time in my academic career and I can’t wait to try it out!

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Polonsky Digitisation Project: Call for Nominations

Our latest digitisation project has begun as we work to digitise 400 pre-1200 manuscripts from the British Library holdings, with a generous support from The Polonsky Foundation. The joint project between the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France seeks to promote and explore the contacts between France and...

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Friday Varia and Quick Hits

It finally feels like winter here in North Dakotaland, but fortunately there are plenty of reasons to stay inside by the fire. This weekend’s highlights involve numerous conference championship footballing contests as well as the Mighty Spiders of the University of Richmond taking on the Fighting Hawks of the University of North Dakota right here in Grand Forks. It doesn’t get any more exciting than that, folks. Throw the records out.

While the excitement builds for the big game, please do enjoy a little list of varia and quick hits:

IMG 0053

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Cooperazione Italia-Giappone sulla Prevenzione del Rischio Sismico

Con l'obiettivo di fornire una buona cooperazione e il sostegno reciproco in materia di danno sismico di strutture storiche, l'Architectural Institute of Japan ha effettuato un sondaggio degli edifici danneggiati dal terremoto del 2016 nel centro Italia.

December 01, 2016

Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations

Storify of November DH News

The ADHO Communications Fellows have created a new monthly digest of DH news from around the internet. Included are announcements from ADHO and its constituent groups, committees and SIGs, CFPs, upcoming conferences, job listings, and other stories of interest. This month's digest is now live on Storify at https://storify.com/ADHOrg/november-2016.
Please contact us at @ADHOrg on Twitter, or at communications@digitalhumanities.org if you have suggestions, news you'd like to add to this digest, or other feedback.

Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

Poem X

i shall be across the plain
when the sun was sinking
but enough of the chain
between my mother
embraced me once
she cut me
with a


I fed King Solomon’s Mines into Ben’s markov chain generator that he’s been using as part of his class. This is what came out. I like it.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Bulletin of the History of Archaeology

[First posted in AWOL 10 December 2011. Updated 1 November 2016]

Bulletin of the History of Archaeology
ISSN: 2047-6930 (online)
ISSN: 1062-4740 (print)

The Bulletin of the History of Archaeology (BHA) was inaugurated nearly 19 years ago as a forum to exchange research, information on on-going projects, and resources solely devoted to the history of archaeology. Since that time it has become global in its reach and interests, but retains its focus on exchanging knowledge about the history of archaeology.
Current Articles

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) Interface questionnaire

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) Interface questionnaire
This is a questionnaire about usage of the CDLI interface (http://cdli.ucla.edu) for searching and viewing cuneiform artifacts.
Welcome to this survey. All questions are optional, feel free to fill the ones that compel you. Thank you for your participation!
Click through on the link above to respond to the questionnaire

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Wisdom is Learned: An Interview with Applications Developer Ashley Blewer



Blewer at the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference, 2016

Ashley Blewer is an archivist, moving image specialist and developer who works at the New York Public Library. In her spare time she helps develop open source AV file conformance and QC software as well as standards such as Matroska and FFV1. Shes a three time Association of American Moving Image Archivists’ AV Hack Day hackathon winner and a prolific blogger and presenter who is committed to demystifying tech and empowering her peers in the library profession.

Describe what you do as an applications developer at the New York Public Library.

We have a lot of different applications here but I work specifically on the repository team and our priority right now is digital preservation and automated media ingest. So my day to day involves working on several different applications. We run different applications that run into each other — sets of microservice suites. I’m the monitor of these pipelines, getting images that have been digitized or video that has been digitized through to long-term digital preservation as well as enabling access on our various endpoints such as digitalcollections.nypl.org and archives.nypl.org. This involves communicating with other stakeholders, communicating with developers on my team and writing code for each of those applications, doing code review and pushing that live to the different applications… It’s very much a full stack position.

The job is more unique on my team because we work on such a broad array of applications. What I find exciting about this job is that I get to touch a lot of different types of code in my day job and I’m not just working on one application. Right now I’m working on dealing with a couple bugs related to associating URIs to subject headings in our metadata management system. Sometimes the application doesn’t work as it should so I do bug fixes in that regard. Some things that I will be working on this week are integrating a connection between our archives portal displaying video live within it rather than linking out to a different website, automating audio transcoding from preservation assets, and contributing some core functionality upgrades to our Digital Collections site. Recently something that I did that was more access-based was we migrated our display of video assets from a proprietary closed-source system to an open-source rendering system.

We follow loosely an agile planning system. Right now we meet weekly because our priorities are very vast and they’re changing pretty quickly, so every Monday we meet with stakeholders and we talk about all the things we need to tackle over the week and what needs to be done and then we get to work. There’s around 16 total developers at NYPL but my team has three.

I was playing with some of the apps youve made, and Im fascinated with the Barthes Tarot and the Portable Auroratone. Could you walk me through your creative process for these?


A card from the Barthes Tarot app.

These are good examples because they’re different in the sense that with the Barthes Tarot I was reading Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse and thinking about how I could potentially use that in a randomized way to do fortune telling for myself. This is almost embarrassing, right, but maybe someone [would want to use it] to try to solve a romance-based problem, like getting their fortune told. I originally wanted to map it to I Ching, which was something that Barthes and other philosophers were interested in, but it ended up being too technically difficult, so I got lazy and downgraded it to tarot. And then I knew I could put this together by doing a random draw of the data and just pull that out. Technically it ended up not being too difficult of a problem to solve because I made it easier.

The Portable Auroratone is the opposite in that I found a [software] library that automatically generated really interesting colors and I wondered how I could use it in some sort of way. I thought about the Auroratone I had seen at some symposium [ Orphan Film Symposium 8, 2013 ] six years ago and I thought “Oh, ok, it kind of looked like that,” and I turned it into that. So one of these apps was me having a philosophical dilemma and the other one was me having a technical library that I wanted to integrate into something and I had to mesh an idea with that.

I get a lot of compliments on Twitter bots like @nypl_cats and @nypl_dogs which I also just made very quickly as a one off. I did that while I was finalizing my paperwork to work here, actually. I thought if I’m going to get this job I might as well learn how to use their API. The API is something else that I work on now so I was familiarizing myself with this tool that I will eventually push code to support.

You constantly share what youre learning and advocate for continued learning in our profession through your blog, presentations, etc.  How do you find the time to share so prolifically and why do you think its important to do so?


Yeah, I just came back from AMIA and I do really remember when at conferences why I do these things. As far as the first part of where I find the time, I don’t know, but I have been reflecting on how I’m maybe naturally introverted and this is something that I do to ramp up my own energy again, by working on something productive. Where other people might need to be out drinking with friends in order to chill, I need to be alone to chill, so it gives me more time to spend building different applications.

How do I summarize why I think this is important? I think about the positions I’ve been at and how I’ve thought about how I get to where I want to be and if those resources don’t exist then someone needs to build them. It’s so crucial to have a mentor figure in place to help you get to where you want to be and allowing people to discover that, especially related to technical issues. People just assume that the work I do in my day job now is much harder than it actually is, so if I can lower that barrier we can have more people learning to do it and more people can be more efficient in their jobs. Overall I think educating and empowering people helps the field much more substantially than if people are doing it alone in silos.


Can you talk about your career path to becoming a web applications developer?

I went to undergrad not really knowing what I wanted to do. I went to a state school because it was almost free and graphic design was the most practical of the art degrees you could get, and in a lot of ways librarianship is a practical advanced degree that people get as well. Coming to the point that I am now which is in a very technical role at a library I sort of see what I was doing as a response to the gendered feedback that I’d grown up with. I wrote an article about this before – where I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable studying something like computer science but then graphic design was still very computer- focused, technically-focused that was maybe more “appropriate” for me to do. I was encouraged to do that as opposed to being discouraged from doing something that I was already good at, which would have been something like computer science.

What skills do digital librarians and archivists need? Is learning to code necessary?

A lot of people are getting on board with learning to code and how everybody has to do that and I don’t necessarily feel that’s true, that’s not everyone’s interest and skill set, but I do think having an understanding of how systems work and what is possible is one hundred percent required. Light skills in that regard help people go a long way. I think that – and this is echoed by people similar to me – once you realize how powerful writing a script can be and automating dull aspects of your job, the more that you’re inclined to want to do it. And like what I said earlier – the more efficient we can be the better we are as archivists.

You do so much to contribute to the profession outside of your work at NYPL as well- contributing to open source formats and workflows, sharing resources, building apps. How do you find time for it all and what else do you want to do?

I feel like I waste a lot of time in my down time. I feel that I’m not doing enough and people are like “How do you do so much?” But there’s so much work to be done! As far as what I want to do,  I don’t know, everything I’m doing right now. Maybe I’m like a child that’s still feasting on an endless amount of candy. Now I have these opportunities that I’ve wanted to have and I’m taking them all and saying yes to everything.


A lot of what I do may be considered homework. As a developer, the way to get better at developing is purely just to solve more development problems. Making small applications is the only way to boost your own skills. It’s not necessarily like reading OAIS and understanding it in the same way you might if you were an archivist doing archivist homework. [Referencing graphic design background] The first design you do is not going to be good so you just do it again and you do it again and it’s the same thing with programming. One of the things I try to articulate to archivists is that programming kind of hurts all the time. It takes a really long time to overcome, because yeah, in school, you read a book or you write a paper and you’re expected to produce this result that has to be an A. With programming you try something and that doesn’t work and you try it again and you try it again and you think “Oh I’m so stupid I don’t know what I’m doing,” and that’s normal. I know this about myself and I think that’s the hardest thing to overcome when you are trying to learn these skills. It’s refreshing that even the smartest senior developers that I work with who are just incredible at their jobs all the time, still will pound the desk and be like “I’m so stupid, I don’t get this!” Knowing that’s a normal part of how things get done is the hardest thing to learn.

I’m happy to constantly be failing because I feel like I’m always fumbling towards something. I do think librarians and archivists tend to be people that had very good grades without too much effort, moving forward in life and so as soon as they hit a wall in which they aren’t necessarily inherently good at something that’s when the learning cuts off and that’s when I try to scoop people up and say “Here’s a resource where it’s ok to be dumb.” Because you’re not dumb, you just don’t have as much knowledge as someone else.

What do you want to do next?

Closed captioning is one of the big problems I’m excited about solving next within NYPL or outside of NYPL, whichever. If you don’t have it and you have 200,000 video items and they all need closed captioning to be accessible how do you deal with that problem?

What are five sources of inspiration for you right now? 

Recompiler: Especially the podcast since I listen to it on my commute, it’s such a warm introduction to technical topics.

Halt & Catch Fire: Trying to find another thing to watch when I am sleepy but I really just only want to watch this show. The emphasis on women’s complex narratives and struggles/growth within this show is unlike any other show I’ve ever watched.

Shishito Peppers: Dude, one in every ten are hot! I thought this was a menu trying to trick me but turns out its true! I like the surprise element of snacking on these.

Godel, Escher, Bach: I feel like this is the programmer’s equivalent of Infinite Jest. Everyone says they’ll read it one day but never get around to it. It’s such a sprawling, complex book that ties together patterns in the humanities and technology. Anyway, I am trudging through it.

AA NDSR Blog: So inspiring to read about the work of emerging professionals in the field of a/v digital preservation!


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Leipziger online-Beiträge zur Ur- und Frühgeschichtlichen Archäologie

[First posted in AWOL 2 July 2013, updated 1 December 2016]

Leipziger online-Beiträge zur Ur- und Frühgeschichtlichen Archäologie

2009Situlen in Archäologie und Kulturgeschichte. Zusammenfassungen der Vorträge auf der internationalen Table Ronde, Morbach, 1. Mai 2009 (Leipzig 2009).
Referenten: Rosemarie Cordie, Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen, Otto-Herman Frey, Anton Kern, Otto H. Urban, Michael Klein, Stéphane Verger, Leonie Carola Koch, Ulrike Körner, Wolfgang David, Hans Nortmann, Andrei Miron
2009Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen/Rosemarie Cordie/Marco Schrickel/Felix Fleischer/Jan König/Dominik Lukas/Jörg Frase, Prospektion einer Villa rustica bei Wederath, Flur Kleinicher Berg (Gde. Morbach, Kr. Bernkastel-Wittlich, Rheinland-Pfalz) (Leipzig 2008).Online-Beiträge31
2008Sabine Rieckhoff, Geschichte der Chronologie der Späten Eisenzeit in Mitteleuropa und das Paradigma der Kontinuität (Leipzig 2008).Online-Beiträge30
2008Germo Schmalfuß, Das Gräberfeld Battaune, Kr. Delitzsch in Sachsen. Ein jüngstbronzezeitliches Gräberfeld der Lausitzer Kultur - die Ergebnisse der Grabungen von 1974/75 (Leipzig 2008).Online-Beiträge29
2007Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen/Rosemarie Cordie/Marco Schrickel/Dominik Lukas/ Erica Camurri/Jan König/Jörg Frase/Jan Ramsch, Prospektion im Tempelbezirk 3 des römischen vicus Belginum (OT Wederath, Gde. Morbach, Kr. Bernkastel-Wittlich, Rheinland-Pfalz) (Leipzig 2007).Online-Beiträge28
2007Ilona Becker, Die Pferde aus dem sächsischen Gräberfeld Rullstorf (Ldkr. Lüneburg) - eine anatomisch-paläopathologische Untersuchung und ein Vergleich mit rezenten Pferdepopulationen (Leipzig 2007).Online-Beiträge27
2007Susanne Grunwald, Sammeln in Leipzig - Zur Geschichte der archäologischen Lehrsammlung der Leipziger Professur für Ur- und Frühgeschichte (Leipzig 2007).Online-Beiträge26
2007Matthias Conrad, Glockenbecherzeitliche Gräber in Nordwestsachsen - Vom Becher(-n) zur Tasse (Leipzig 2007).Online-Beiträge25
2007Janine Fries-Knoblach, Von Schwellbalken und Telegraphenmasten. Überlegungen zur Gründungsweise und Lebensdauer eisenzeitlicher Holzgebäude (Leipzig 2007).Online-Beiträge24
2006Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen/Rosemarie Cordie/Marco Schrickel/Dominik Lukas/Erica Camurri, Prospektion einer Villa rustica bei Wederath, Flur Hinterm Klop (Gde. Morbach, Kr. Bernkastel-Wittlich, Rheinland-Pfalz) (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge23
2006Caroline von Nicolai, Sakral oder profan? Späteisenzeitliche Einfriedungen in Nordfrankreich und Süddeutschland (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge22
2006Hans-Jörg Frisch/Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen, Osteologische Untersuchungen an rezenten Tierknochen aus der Küstensiedlung Caletones auf Kuba. Ein Beitrag zur Ethnoarchäologie (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge21
2006Antje Theel, Die Rekonstruktion von Sozialstrukturen am Beispiel des so genannten Fürstengrabes von Hochdorf (Baden-Württemberg). Ein Beitrag zur Anwendung ethnologischer Modelle in der archäologischen Theoriediskussion (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge20
2006Alexander Gramsch, Eine kurze Geschichte des archäologischen Denkens in Deutschland (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge19
2006Serena Sabatini, The house urns of the "Sammlung Ur- und Frühgeschichte" at the University of Leipzig (Leipzig 2006).Online-Beiträge18
2005Uwe Petzold, Artefakte aus organischem Hartmaterial aus mitteldeutschen schnurkeramischen Gräbern (Leipzig 2005).Online-Beiträge17
2004Felix Fleischer/Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen (Hrsg.), Zur Eisenzeit zwischen Burgund und Osteuropa. Kolloquium zu Ehren von Prof. Dr. Sabine Rieckhoff. Zusammenfassungen der Vorträge und Poster (Leipzig 2004)Online-Beiträge16
2004Felix Fleischer/Wolf-Rüdiger Teegen (Hrsg.), Miszellen zur Eisen- und Römerzeit für Prof. Dr. Sabine Rieckhoff von ihren Mitarbeitern und Schülern. Zusammenfassungen der Poster (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge15
2004Rosemarie Cordie (Hrsg.), Zusammenfassungen der Vorträge und Poster der Internationalen Tagung "50 Jahre Grabungen und Forschungen in Belginum" (Leipzig und Morbach 2004).Online-Beiträge14
2004Birgit Lißner, Zu den frühbronzezeitlichen Gruppen in Süddeutschland (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge13
2004Manfred Rösch, Neue Forschungen zur Umwelt und Ernährung der Pfahlbaubewohner aus Südwestdeutschland (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge12
2004Uta Halle, Lettern - Kacheln - Uhren - Pfeifen. Der Anbruch einer neuen Zeit im Spiegel archäologischer Quellen (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge11
2004Karin Reichenbach, Sicheln als mittelalterliche und neuzeitliche Grabbeigaben in der Slowakei (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge10
2004Jochen Fahr, Zu einer bisher unbekannten mittelalterlichen Wüstung bei Großzöberitz, Ldkr. Bitterfeld (Sachsen-Anhalt) (Leipzig 2004).Online-Beiträge09
2003Doreen Mölders, Die handwerkliche Produktion im Oppidum Bibracte-Mont Beuvray (Frankreich) des 2. und 1. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. im Spiegel der eisernen Werkzeuge und Werkabfälle aus den Grabungen von Jacques-Gabriel Bulliot zwischen 1867 und 1895 (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge08
2003Jörg Ewersen, Ein Huhnnachweis und andere Tierknochenfunde aus dem spätkaiserzeitlichen Gräberfeld Hemmoor II (Ldkr. Cuxhaven) (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge07
2003Ulrich Schmölcke /Marle Breede /Nadine Friedhoff, Tierreste aus mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Kloaken und anderen Entsorgungsanlagen in Güstrow (Grabung "Am Wall 3-5") (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge06
2003Barbara Dammers, Hinkelstein - Großgartach - Rössen. Zum Mittel-neolithikum in Rheinhessen (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge05
2003Wolf-Rüdiger. Teegen/Michael Schultz, Eine Schipperfraktur aus dem sächsischen Gräberfeld um St. Kilian in Höxter (8. Jh.) (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge04
2003Wolf-Rüdiger. Teegen/Michael Schultz, Geschlechtsabhängige Arbeitsverteilung in slawischen Gräberfeldern nach Aussage der Gelenkerkrankungen (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge03
2003Susanne Grunwald, Zur Wechselwirkung zwischen ethnischer Deutung und archäologischer Methode am Beispiel der ur- und frühgeschichtlichen Wallanlagen in Sachsen (Leipzig 2003). Online-Beiträge02
2003Martina Schäfer, Rechts, Links, Geradeaus? Zum Sprachduktus deutscher Prähistoriker zwischen 1935 und 1965 (Leipzig 2003).Online-Beiträge01

Open Access Monograph Series: Les Cahiers «Égypte Nilotique et Méditérranéenne»

[First posted in AWOL 5 July 2010, updated 1 December 2016]

CENiM – Les Cahiers «Égypte Nilotique et Méditérranéenne»
ISSN 2102-6637
 Collectif,  À l’école des scribes. Les écritures de l’Égypte ancienne
Dans une Égypte désormais chrétienne, la maîtrise des écritures tradi­tionnelles liées aux ultimes soubresauts des cultes « païens » tomba ra­pidement dans l'oubli avec la disparition des derniers hiérogrammates, aux 1v"-v' siècles de notre ère. Elle devint dès lors un sujet de spéculation pour les savants de !'Antiquité tardive, puis pour les humanistes euro­péens à partir de la Renaissance. Il fallut néanmoins attendre 1822 et les débuts de la redécouverte du système hiéroglyphique par Jean-François Champollion pour renouer avec le savoir des scribes. Pourtant, malgré le vif engouement suscité par la civilisation égyptienne antique et les presque deux siècles de la discipline égyptologique, ces écritures restent encore pour beaucoup synonyme de « mystères » ... Cet ouvrage présente quelque soixante-dix pièces, œuvres majeures ou moins connues principalement issues des collections du musée du Louvre, ainsi que d'autres, inédites, provenant de collections privées et universitaire, en les analysant à l'aune des dernières avancées de la recherche égyptologique. Il propose d'une part une vision synthétique claire de ces différentes écritures (hiéroglyphique, hiératique et démo­tique), de leurs spécificités et emplois respectifs ; il permet d'autre part d'évoquer leur réception aux époques ultérieures et, de manière plus large, la place de l'écrit dans les sociétés.

 Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers,  Documents de Théologies Thébaines Tardives (D3T 3)
Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers
Les contributions réunies dans ce troisième volume font état de travaux récents sur les pratiques religieuses qui se sont développées dans la région thébaine au cours du premier millénaire avant notre ère. Elles abordent de multiples questions relatives aux théologies construites autour des dieux-morts de Djémê et de leur développement à Médamoud, mais également liées aux cultes osiriens et à ceux des souverains lagides divinisés. Au sein de ce creuset intellectuel, les prêres ont également développé tout leur savoir pour assurer la survie dans l’Au-delà dont témoignent les livres des morts sur papyrus et les compositions funéraires gravées dans les tombes tardives de l’Assassif.
Alexandra Nespoulous-Phalippou,  Ptolémée Épiphane, Aristonikos et les prêtres d’Égypte. Le Décret de Memphis (182 a.C.). Édition commentée des stèles Caire RT 2/3/25/7 et JE 44901
Alexandra Nespoulous-Phalippou
Publiées au début du siècle dernier par G. Daressy, les deux stèles hiéroglyphiques RT 2/3/25/7 et JE 44901 conservées au Musée égyptien du Caire constituent les seuls exemplaires connus à ce jour du décret du synode de prêtres qui eut lieu à Memphis, en l’an 23 du règne de Ptolémée Épiphane. Cette première étude commentée du Décret de Memphis (182 a.C.) se propose de fournir une version normalisée de ces textes suivant une édition synoptique, un apparat critique, une traduction, un commentaire philologique, de même que les photographies et les fac-similés des documents. Leur analyse permet de réévaluer leur apport au règne d’Épiphane : cérémonie en l’honneur d’un taureau Mnévis à Memphis, évergétisme des souverains à l’égard des clergés égyptiens, mesures politiques ponctuelles (amnistie pénale en l’an 21 du règne, exemptions de taxe). Leur intérêt majeur réside en la présence d’un récit historique développé. Relatant la répression de révoltes indigènes dans le Delta, il met en exergue l’intervention victorieuse du commandant en chef de la cavalerie Aristonikos dans la région de Tell el-Balamoun. Intégrés dans l’ensemble des actes des décrets synodaux du règne d’Épiphane, ces documents, inhabituels par leur forme et leur contenu, sont ainsi replacés dans leur contexte rédactionnel, historique et politique. C’est notamment à travers la problématique de l’évolution des relations entre la Couronne alexandrine et les clergés indigènes que cette documentation officielle est appréhendée.
 Textes réunis et édités par M Massiera, B. Mathieu et Fr. Rouffet,  Apprivoiser le sauvage / Taming the Wild
Textes réunis et édités par M Massiera, B. Mathieu et Fr. Rouffet
Comme toutes les autres cultures, antiques ou modernes, la civilisation pharaonique a su exploiter les spécificités de la faune sauvage présente dans son environnement, aussi bien dans ses modes de représentation du monde que dans ses rouages économiques et institutionnels. Les auteurs de ce volume vous invitent donc à découvrir différents articles portant sur le monde animal en Égypte ancienne.
 Édités par Christiane Zivie-Coche,  Offrandes, rites et rituels dans les temples d’époques ptolémaïque et romaine. Actes de la journée d’études de l’équipe EPHE (EA 4519) « Égypte ancienne : Archéologie, Langue, Religion » Paris, 27 juin 2013
Édités par Christiane Zivie-Coche
L’étude des scènes rituelles dans les temples des époques ptolémaïque et romaine est une thématique qui a suscité dans les dernières décennies un intérêt jamais démenti, comme en témoigne, à titre d’exemple, la collection Rites égyptiens, dont bien des volumes sont ainsi consacrés à tel ou tel rite attesté dans les temples tardifs. Néanmoins, la masse documentaire que nous offrent les édifices de cette époque est considérable, et la complexité de la « grammaire » du temple, qu’il s’agisse de l’analyse de scènes individuelles ou de celle de l’organisation plus globale du programme pariétal, est loin d’être aujourd’hui totalement disséquée dans les grands et plus petits temples de la période. Plusieurs membres de l’équipe « Égypte ancienne » de l’EPHE, doctorants ou post-doctorants, avaient émis le souhait qu’une journée d’études soit organisée à la fin de l’année académique 2013 pour évoquer ces questions et confronter des points de vue différents. Cela a abouti à la tenue, à l’EPHE, d’une telle journée, le 27 juin 2013.
 Réunis par Gaëlle Tallet et Christiane Zivie-Coche,  Le myrte & la rose. Mélanges offerts à Françoise Dunand par ses élèves, collègues et amis
Réunis par Gaëlle Tallet et Christiane Zivie-Coche
De nombreux étudiants, collègues et amis de Françoise Dunand, professeur émérite d’histoire des religions à l’université de Strasbourg, ont souhaité s’associer à l’hommage qui lui est rendu à travers ces deux volumes. La diversité des contributions organisées par thèmes reflète parfaitement le parcours singulier de la récipiendaire. De formation classique, Françoise Dunand s’est très vite orientée vers la papyrologie grecque d’abord, puis vers l’étude des cultes isiaques, ainsi qu’on les a appelés. Sa rencontre avec l’Égypte fut décisive pour le choix ultérieur de ses champs d’études : religion dans l’Égypte hellénistique et romaine sous ses formes de continuité et d’innovations, travail de terrain dans les nécropoles des oasis occidentales, poursuivi aujourd’hui encore. Reflet même de son enseignement et de ses recherches, témoignage de son rayonnement, on passera des éditions de papyrus au « cercle isiaque », des pratiques funéraires de l’Égypte tardive en faveur des hommes comme des animaux, du rôle des images à l’histoire des religions, des études sur les oasis à celles sur les femmes.
 Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers,  Documents de Théologies Thébaines Tardives (D3T 2)
Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers
Le présent ouvrage poursuit les investigations sur différents aspects des théologies et des pratiques religieuses mises en oeuvre dans la région thébaine. Les contributions mettent particulièrement en exergue le rôle majeur joué par la Butte de Djémê et les temples de Karnak, lieux de création des théologies les plus sophistiquées. Les liens avec les grands centres de Haute Égypte, les temples thébains et ceux de l’oasis de Kharga sont également mis en lumière.
 Françoise Dunand, Bahgat Ahmed Ibrahim, Roger Lichtenberg,  Le matériel archéologique et les restes humains de la nécropole de Dabashiya
Françoise Dunand, Bahgat Ahmed Ibrahim, Roger Lichtenberg
Cet ouvrage est le résultat le plus récent de la collaboration ancienne initiée par l’Inspecteur en Chef du Service des Antiquités de Kharga, Bahgat Ahmed Ibrahim, et ses collaborateurs, avec l’équipe française dirigée par Françoise Dunand qui travaille depuis maintenant trente ans sur les nécropoles de l’oasis de Kharga. Après l’exploration et la publication de la nécropole de Douch par l’équipe française dans le cadre de l’IFAO, sa collaboration avec le Service des Antiquités s’est matérialisée par l’étude de la nécropole d’Aïn el-Labakha, explorée par les Inspecteurs égyptiens, avec pour résultat un ouvrage paru en 2008. Le présent volume est consacré à la description du site de Dabashiya, dont la nécropole a été explorée par l’équipe égyptienne, à l’étude des momies et du mobilier funéraire de la tombe inviolée n° 22 ainsi qu’au catalogue des objets découverts dans les tombes. Ce site de Dabashiya est d’un intérêt tout particulier, non seulement par ses spécificités, mais par les comparaisons qu’il permet avec les différents sites de l’oasis déjà explorés. On a là encore une mine d’informations sur les pratiques funéraires, bien entendu, et aussi sur les techniques et le mode de vie des habitants de l’oasis aux époques ptolémaïque et romaine.
Frédéric Servajean,  Quatre études sur la bataille de Qadech
Frédéric Servajean
Avec Megiddo, Qadech est la seule bataille relativement bien connue de la fin de l’âge du bronze. Cependant, contrairement à la première, qui opposa Thoutmosis III à une coalition dirigée par le prince de Qadech, la bataille qui va nous occuper n’a cessé de retenir l’attention des chercheurs. L’importance de la documentation et sa nature pourraient expliquer cela, les textes et les figurations du Poème, du Bulletin et des Reliefs ayant été gravés ou consignés sur les parois de nombreux grands temples et ailleurs. Le fait que cette documentation ne permette pas de reconstituer la bataille dans son ensemble et que certains points restent encore débattus pourraient aussi l’expliquer. Mais il y a probablement une autre raison, de nature psychologique. Car le chercheur perçoit bien qu’à Qadech, il s’est produit quelque chose d’inhabituel, quelque chose ayant justement motivé cette profusion de textes dans lesquels Ramsès se met en scène, combattant seul avec l’aide d’Amon. Au point que l’on a pu écrire que Qadech fut une bataille perdue par les Égyptiens. Mais, simultanément, on se rend bien compte, à l’issue des différentes reconstitutions de celle-ci, que ce ne fut pas le cas. Certes, il ne s’agit pas d’une victoire brillante, comme l’avait été auparavant Megiddo, mais c’est un fait : à Qadech même, Ramsès ne fut pas vaincu.
 Textes réunis et édités par A. Gasse, Fr. Servajean, et Chr. Thiers,  Et in Ægypto et ad Ægyptum, Recueil d’études dédiées à Jean-Claude Grenier
Textes réunis et édités par A. Gasse, Fr. Servajean, et Chr. Thiers
Étudiants, collègues et amis, égyptologues, hellénistes ou romanistes – nombreux sont les auteurs qui ont tenu à offrir leur contribution à ces Études dédiées à Jean-Claude Grenier, titulaire de la chaire d’égyptologie de l’université Paul Valéry-Montpellier 3. L’extrême variété des sujets abordés offre un reflet fidèle de la multiplicité des intérêts qu’a toujours manifesté Jean-Claude Grenier pour l’histoire antique de la Vallée du Nil et du monde méditerranéen des Césars. C’est aussi une brillante illustration des innombrables étincelles que peut allumer un savant aussi chaleureux dans des esprits différents par leur formation, par leurs intérêts et leur culture. Ces participations aussi généreuses qu’enthousiastes occupent quatre volumes et couvrent plus de deux mille ans d’histoire. Outre des études d’égyptologie « classique », on y trouvera nombre de travaux consacrés aux dernières périodes de l’histoire de l’Égypte ancienne : l’Égypte sous domination romaine et la diffusion des croyances égyptiennes hors d’Égypte sont abordées de manière multiforme. Ces pages d’égyptologie originale s’inscrivent in Ægypto et ad Ægyptum…
814 pages. 70 euros plus frais de port ou 20 euros + frais de port chaque volume separement
TelechargerTable des matière au format PDF - Commander Commander cet ouvrage : edition.enim@gmail.com
Stéphane Pasquali,  Topographie cultuelle de Memphis 1 a- Corpus. Temples et principaux quartiers de la XVIIIe dynastie
Stéphane Pasquali
Corpus des sources relatives à la topographie cultuelle de la ville de Memphis à la XVIIIe dynastie. Celui-ci est constitué de trois listes : A) les monuments royaux d’origine memphite (vestiges archéologiques, fondations palatiales et cultuelles attestées textuellement), B) une prosopographie du personnel des dieux de la région memphite, C) les sources concernant le quartier de Pérounéfer ainsi que l’arsenal et le port de Memphis jusqu’au début de la XIXe dynastie. Cet ouvrage est le premier volume des monographies associées au projet Topographie cultuelle de Memphis de l’équipe d'égyptologie de l'UMR 5140 (CNRS-Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier III).
 Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers,  Documents de Théologies Thébaines Tardives (D3T 1)
Textes réunis et édités par Christophe Thiers
Le présent ouvrage réunit une dizaine de contributions mettant en exergue différentes facettes des théologies qui se sont développées au coeur de la région thébaine dans le courant du Ier millénaire avant notre ère et plus spécifiquement dans les temples des époques ptolémaïque et romain
242 pages, 20 euros + frais de port.
TelechargerTable des matière au format PDF - Commander Commander cet ouvrage
 Textes réunis et édités par Isabelle Régen et Frédéric Servajean,  Verba manent. Recueil d’études dédiées à Dimitri Meeks par ses collègues et amis
Textes réunis et édités par Isabelle Régen et Frédéric Servajean
Trente-six études dédiées par ses amis et collègues à l’égyptologue français Dimitri Meeks. Ces contributions portent sur l’histoire, l’archéologie, la religion, la langue (lexicographie, paléographie) et l’environnement naturel de l’Égypte pharaonique. Autant de domaines que Dimitri Meeks a enrichis par des apports décisifs avec un savoir et un talent unanimement reconnus.
467 pages, 40 euros + frais de port.
TelechargerTable des matière au format PDF - Commander Commander cet ouvrage
Jean-Claude Grenier,  L'Osiris ANTINOOS
Jean-Claude Grenier
Cinq contributions pour approcher par des propositions nouvelles la question posée par l’ « affaire Antinoos » et la fabrication du dernier des dieux : une traduction des inscriptions de l’obélisque romain (l’Obélisque Barberini) qui se dressait sur le site de la tombe d’Antinoos et raconte son apothéose, la question de l’emplacement de cette tombe peut-être à Rome dans les Jardins de Domitia, sur la rive droite du Tibre, où Hadrien fit élever son tombeau dynastique (le Château Saint Ange), une évocation des circonstances de la mort d’Antinoos sans doute à l’issue d’une chasse au lion qui se déroula dans la région d’Alexandrie au début du mois d’août 130, quelques remarques sur la nature « royale » d’Antinoos et une analyse du contexte alexandrin de l’année 130 qui pesant sur sa divinisation fit, peut-être, d’Antinoos un dieu « politique » au lendemain de la « Guerre Juive » qui avait ensanglanté l’Égypte et à la veille de l’ultime conflit qui allait éclater entre l’Empire et la Judée.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Quali novità per la XXIV edizione del Salone del Restauro-Musei?

Dal 22 al 24 marzo 2017 torna, nella storica sede di Ferrara, l’incantevole scenario di RESTAURO-MUSEI - Salone dell’Economia, della Conservazione, delle Tecnologie e della Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali - che aprirà le porte al pubblico per la sua XXIV edizione. Tre giornate di esposizioni, convegni, eventi e mostre, nell’intento di
promuovere il patrimonio culturale e ambientale sotto tutti gli aspetti.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Method in the Archaeology of Late Antiquity

This week I’ve started work on a rather more technical publication project for The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.


I’m working to publish an archaeological field manual for a significant and long-standing excavation. The manual posses some interesting (but hardly unique) challenges. First, such documents with a few exceptions tend to be internal documents that assume a basic familiarity with a project and its infrastructure. For example, this particular manual talks about “the museum” as opposed to the “the lab” or “the apotheke” or the “storerooms.” This project had a unique cast of characters like “supervisors,” “a field director,” and “the Director,” whose responsibilities are not so much articulated but traced through their interaction in the manual. The organization or the manual and the balance between various sections rests on not only a long history of experience with the particular situation at that excavation, but also on institutional priorities, specific policies in the host country, and the character of an dense, multi-phase, urban site.

When I read the manual and talked it over with some members of my editorial board, we worried that this kind of work might be too site specific to be of general utility or that it would require a lot of contextualizing work to be applicable to another site elsewhere.

Then I started to read Luke Lavan’s newest volume in the epic Late Antique Archaeology series from Brill titled Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology (2015). In his inflammatory (in a good way, I think) introduction, Lavan bemoans the uneven character of field work at Late Antique sites in the Mediterranean. While the reasons for the irregularity are wide range from the desire to remove levels quickly to present sites for visitor to particular national archaeological traditions, project directors who lack up-to-date archaeological training, and to intellectual (often related to political) isolation from wider trends in practice. Among the suggestions floated by Lavan is that archaeologists make their field manuals available so that exemplars of contemporary archaeological practices are available.

A quick Google search for field manuals turns up a pretty substantial number of manuals (particular from projects in the American southwest), but relatively few of them are from the Mediterranean basin and even fewer are from Greece. I couldn’t find any, even informally published manuals from projects on Cyprus. Needless to say, many of the manuals do not appear in WorldCat and exist as pdfs on the web where they run risk of being digital ephemera. In fact, these manuals are valuable as artifacts for the history of both excavations and archaeology, they’re an important means for circulating knowledge about excavation practices, and they’re invaluable lens for interpreting the results of a project. 

This got me thinking that maybe publishing a site-specific field manual, more or less “as is” isn’t a bad thing. They provide a snapshot of how a project operates or operated at a particular time and a guide that can be referenced when publishing the results or interpretation from a site. I wonder how many projects would be interested in doing that?

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Mostra virtuale della vicenda del colosso di Leonardo da Vinci

In questa mostra eccezionale, gli esperti del Museo Galileo di Firenze, utilizzando i manoscritti originali dell'artista e le tecnologie di ricostruzione 3D hanno riportato in vita l'incredibile progetto di Leonardo.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

3D Modeling and Archaeology at MSU

This past summer at the Morton Village site, located in Central Illinois, the joint Michigan State University and Dickson Mounds Museum archaeological field school uncovered an artifact unique to the site. It is an zoomorphic sandstone block pipe, that we are interpreting as being similar to a bison! This artifact remains housed at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Havana, IL, but the co-directors, Drs. Jodie O’Gorman and Mike Conner, and myself were interested in creating a three dimensional model, both digital and printed. There are several reasons for this. First, because the artifact has delicate surface alterations including pigmentation and charred reside it cannot be handled without risk of damage. Second, because the object is housed in a different state, Michigan State University students would not be able to see the object themselves, and it could not be used in any public talks or classroom lectures. Having both a digital version as well as a printed model allows professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students to teach and learn about this object without the risk of damage that would be present with the original artifact.

Morton Village Sandstone Block Pipe

Morton Village Sandstone Block Pipe

How the models were created:

Using the resources available to anthropology and history students and faculty in LEADR, I was trained in photogrammetry and 3D modeling. As I am learning different techniques to create 3D models, I also used the NextEngine Scan Studio to create a second (not pictured) model. For the creation of the the final model, I focused solely on the photogrammetry images. After taking the photos, I imported the images into AgiSoft photoscan to create the model.  After aligning the photos, cleaning up the point dense cloud, erasing points that were picked up from the background of the photos, and aligning the points from the two rounds of photos, I had a complete model! This final version was uploaded to Sketchfab under LEADR’s account, but is being held private until final approval by the Illinois State Museum system. Hopefully we will be able to release the model to the publish soon!

Finally, I then took the digital model and printed it using the Ultimaker 2 Extended+ in LEADR. It took several tries and troubleshooting, but eventually I was able to print a high-quality version of the pipe!

3D Printed Morton Block Pipe

3D Printed Morton Block Pipe

If you would like to hear more about this project, feel free to come to the LOCUS talk (on modeling) today from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. in the MSU Main Library, 3W REAL Classroom where I will be giving a presentation!

If you are doing any 3D modeling in archaeology I would love to hear about it! What other ways are you using photogrammetry or laser scanning to create models?

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Fantastic Beasts at the British Library

You may have noticed that a certain film is currently wowing audiences worldwide. Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them is the first instalment in a new movie franchise written by J. K. Rowling, and takes its inspiration from her book of the same name. But did you know that...

A Calendar Page for December 2016

For more information about the Bedford Hours, please see our post for January 2016; for more on medieval calendars in general, our original calendar post is an excellent guide. Calendar page for December from the Bedford Hours, France (Paris), c. 1410-1430, Add MS 18850, f. 12r The calendar pages for...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Giornata degli studenti Archeo&Arte3D Lab - DigiLab

Archeo&Arte3D parte di OpenLab Cultura del Centro Interdipartimentale DigiLab Sapienza invita tutti gli studenti e non alla "Giornata degli Studenti", che si svolgerà venerdì 2 dicembre presso il proprio laboratorio.

Digital Humanities Questions & Answers » Recent Topics

pfyfe on "Why should DH coursework count towards a literature grad program?"

Hi everyone: I have a former grad student who wrote to me in a panic. Apparently, her current department chair has decided that her previous coursework in DH, book history will not count towards her current graduate program, because it does not "correlate" to literature, composition, or teaching. (Wow. I can barely even.) The chair is apparently reacting to an accreditation review and has asked for justification in language accessible to non-specialist peers. Does anyone have go-to resources for helping us make this case? Thank you --

November 30, 2016

Aurélien Berra (Philologie à venir)

Humanités numériques : quelle(s) critique(s) ? | DH Nord 2016

En ouverture du colloque DH Nord 2016, Pierre Mounier et moi-même avons récemment présenté le programme du séminaire Digital Humanities de l’EHESS. Nous avions résumé ainsi le propos de l’intervention :

Cette conférence d’ouverture expose les motivations, les principes et le corpus de textes du séminaire Digital Humanities de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales pour l’année 2016-2017, dont l’intitulé donne son titre à notre intervention : « Humanités numériques : quelle(s) critique(s) ? »

Après avoir rappelé la genèse et les implications de la notion de critique dans les sciences humaines et sociales, nous évoquons sous cet angle trois aspects des humanités numériques : leur histoire, et en particulier leur relation avec les disciplines ; leur portée politique ; la dimension critique de leur épistémologie.

L’enregistrement vidéo de cette présentation est maintenant en ligne sur la plateforme de la MESHS (où vous pourrez activer le plein écran).

Les discussions durant le colloque étaient extrêmement stimulantes. Nous attendons maintenant vos commentaires, ici, par courriel et durant nos séances. Pour contribuer au séminaire, il suffit de nous contacter. Le programme et les références se trouvent à la page DH EHESS 2017-2017.


Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry

[First posted in AWOL 5 November 2009. Updated 30 November 2016]

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry (MAA)
ISSN ( print ): 1108-9628
ISSN ( online ): 2241-8121
MAA is converted to full online journal free access to whole texts as .pdf files from last year. The process is ongoing. The printed version (2001-2014) is kept only if authors ask for back issues or if individuals or libraries require printed volumes.

As from 2015 frequency is increased to 3 times per year and there is an advertisement page too. The Journal will keep the rapid reviewing procedure following the standard double blind review and ensures swift publication of high quality papers in innovation or important applications and excavation reports related to the Mediterranean region.

Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry (MAA) is an interdisciplinary International Journal issued by The University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Rhodes, Greece. MAA is published since 2001 and from 2008 is operating in updated format.
All Issues
+ Volume 1 (2001)

Open Access Journal: Athena Review

Athena Review: Journal of Archaeology, History, and Exploration
Issue index:
Vol. 1, No 1:   Romano-British Sites & Museums I: Forts and military sites; Late Iron Age Celts; Angkor Wat; Peter Martyr.
Vol. 1, No 2:   Romano-British Sites & Museums II: Towns, villas, markets, baths; New World Voyages of William Dampier.
Vol. 1, No. 3:   New World Explorers I: South America & Caribbean; Vikings in Vinland; Rivers from Space.
Vol. 1, No. 4:   Sites & Museums in Roman Gaul I; Thracian Treasures; Buddhist Monasteries in Tibet.
Vol. 2, No. 1:   New World Explorers II: Yucatán; Great Basin Archaeology.
Vol. 2, No.2:   Maya Lowlands: Tikal, Palenque; Egyptian papyri; Sutton Hoo.
Vol. 2, No.3:   Romans on the Danube; Viking ships and sagas; Andean Petroglyphs.
Vol. 2, No.4:  Neanderthals Meet Modern Humans.
Vol. 3, No.1:Byzantine Cultures, East and West; Buried silk road cities of Khotan.
Vol. 3, No.2:   New World Explorers III: Peopling of the Americas
Vol. 3, No.3: Minoan Palaces of Crete: New Interpretations; El Mirón Cave, Spain
Vol. 3, No.4: Rediscovering Lost Civilizations: Reports from the Field.
Vol. 4, No.1: Homo erectus: current findings on an early human ancestor;  The prehistory of Sardinia
Vol. 4, No.2: The Flowering of the Gothic in Northern France: Gothic Art and Architecture from Paris to Picardie
Vol. 4, No.3: The Looting of Archaeological Sites: Looting and the Antiquities Market; Central America as a Case  Study; Bering Strait Legal Market in Antiquities
Vol. 4, No.4: China
Vol 5, No.1: Records of Life: fossils as original sources

Europeana EAGLE Project Stories

Europeana EAGLE Project Stories
EAGLE Portal
In the EAGLE project, we believe that every inscription has a story to tell! It is thanks to inscriptions that we are informed of several details of the every-day life in Antiquity; inscriptions can be used to open a window on our past and start a fascinating journey among men that lived in Europe thousands of years ago. For instance, would you like to know how people used to celebrate victories in the most important national athletic and cultural competitions of Athens? Or how dangerous it was to cross the Alps travelling from Italy to the city of Emona (actual Slovenia) in the Roman times?

This is the kind of stories that we’d like to collect from our audience, and this is where our Storytelling App comes to help! A story is a narrative that can be enhanced by all the multimedia content that can help the readers (especially the non-specialists) understand and contextualize the words of the text. Furthermore, we should never forget that an inscription is a beautiful multimedia object! Therefore, we want to enable our authors to insert pictures and other  representations to help your audience imagine what the visual impact of the inscribed monument was and still is.

Lucio da Treviri

*** [D(is) M(anibus)] et memoriae aetern(ae) L(uci) Secundius Octavi Treveri acerbissima morte defuncti qui cum ex incendio seminudus effugisset posthabita[...]
read Story»

An Inscription in Daglingworth

In August 2013 we went looking for some inscriptions among which this one. Getting to the place wasn’t easy. But we arrived[...]
testa serpente
read Story»

The Trophy of the battle of Platea

Sulthanamet Square in Istanbul hosts part of one of the most important monuments survived from ancient times: the trophy of the[...]
  This is the story of a young quaestor, Lucius Quinctius, who held the post during the first Punic War.[...]
Lucio Cassio Filippo, his wife Atilia Pomptilla together with Filippo’s father were exiled to Sardinia by the Emperor Nero, probably because they were opponents of his power. They spent their lives in Karalis (modern Cagliari). Pomptilla and Filippo, in spite of their condition, lived happily together for 42 years, unfortunately Filippo fell seriously ill during the exile (because of malaria, a common disease because of the unhealthy environment in some places of the ancient Sardinia) and his faithful wife, so in love with him, asked the Gods to let her die instead of her husband. Even if it seems impossible, her prayers were fulfilled: Filippo healed and she suddenly died as in the myth of Alcestis. Filippo also died a little later and his ashes were preserved close to his wife’s. The incredible story of this love is witnessed by the inscriptions of the so called “Viper’s Cave”.

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Digital Library of the Middle East - Proposal

Digital Library of the Middle East

"CLIR is working with The Antiquities Coalition and other institutions in the United States and abroad to explore the feasibility and technical prototyping of a Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME). The DLME would create a digitally based, internationally shared inventory of cultural artifacts that includes detailed descriptions and images, and confirms objects’ ownership and legal status. This information would help determine whether an item of cultural or historical significance offered for sale or being transferred was acquired illegally. Images and brief descriptions from the DLME could be made publicly available to encourage greater understanding of the region's cultural legacy and respect for the importance of the cultural commonwealth, while helping to safeguard a fundamentally important expression of our humanity.
The initial stage of this work is supported with a planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read the news release.
An abridged version of the planning grant proposal is available here.
Read CLIR President Charles Henry's blog, "A Digital Library for the Middle East".

Join our Mailing List

Occasional announcements and news about this program will be sent by e-mail. If you would like to be added to our distribution list, please click here."

Open Access Directory - Who Is She in Lebanon


"The Who Is She in Lebanon is an online database with profiles of prominent contemporary Lebanese women. This project started in 2008 following a bilateral partnership between the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) and KVINFO, the Danish Centre for Information on Women and Gender, a grant-maintained self-governing institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture in Denmark... "

Open Access Directory - Who Is She in Egypt


"Who is She in Egypt" is a database of distinguished Egyptian women experts.  It provides Arabic and English profiles on outstanding Egyptian Women in their particular field. The database aims at raising awareness among the society that there are expert and competent Egyptian Women in all fields of life. It is designed to be a reference to organizations, researchers, activists, media practitioners and all the users who want to find an Egyptian woman expert in a particular field..."

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Indigenous Archaeology Again

My friend Dimitri Nakassis directed me toward a recent article in American Anthropologist 118 (2016) by Mary Leighton titled “Indigenous Archaeological Field Technicians at Tiwanaku, Bolivia: A  Hybrid Form of Scientific Labor.” I’ve blogged about Leighton’s work here a few months ago particularly her effort to dissect the organization and realities of field work as a vital component to archaeological knowledge production. Her work appears in the bibliography to my recent effort to propose a “slow archaeology.”

In her 2016 article Leighton explores the relationship between local, indigenous labor in Bolivia and archaeological work. She argues that the indigenous workers who do much of the labor associated with field work at her project in Bolivia have significantly different conceptions of the organization and purpose of field work. For example, local Tiwanakeño workers negotiate their roles in the project not based on experience or expertise, but according to a rotational scheme arranged by community leaders. Moreover, local workers do not think about their work on this archaeological project as co-producing scientific knowledge and were reluctant to share or simply ambivalent about their views or interpretations of artifacts and features that documented by the American and Bolivian archaeologists. Efforts to press the indigenous workers to interpret their works and its results were an awkward failure. At the same time, there was little evidence that working on a scientific archaeological project “colonized” Tiwanakeño understandings of their past. Members of the indigenous community remained adept at “code switching” and able to move between traditional understandings of their history and the requirements of archaeological field work.

A few years ago, I played with the idea of indigenous archaeology in the context of my experiences in Greece and Cyprus. A common refrain among foreign archaeologists working in both places (and in Greece in particular) is that so much has been excavated, particularly by the Greek Archaeological Service and the Archaeological Society, and so little has been published. Few have worked in Greece without encountering famous stories of notebooks being passed down from the excavator to their wives and children as well as “rights” to publish particular material. I argued that for some in Greece, the work of excavation was not about producing publishable “scientific” results, but about expressing ownership over the objects and features excavated. Excavating specific sites and artifacts produced a kind of political power that was independent of the need to publish the results. In fact, excavation and possession represented a kind of authority that was in no way inferior to producing new knowledge. (And this extends to the sometimes protracted publication schedules embraced by foreign archaeologists as well). This isn’t to suggest that Greek archaeologists are any less committed to or capable of producing scientific results, but that archaeology in Greece has a range of different purposes from nation building to personal political advancement and the production of new knowledge.   

On Cyprus, I noted that archaeologists sometimes blended their faith and the faith of local communities with archaeological work that contributed to longstanding views of Cyprus as a Christian nation. This kind of national archaeology continued a tradition of Christian archaeological practice with roots in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine period. Like their Greek colleagues, these archaeologists are capable of a kind of “code switching” between different discursive formations that give archaeological work meaning. Recognizing this kind of code switching allows archaeologists to move from relatively simple binaries that understand good and bad archaeological practices as mutually exclusive and toward larger critiques of archaeological goals and the relationship between archaeological work (both in the field and in an academic and narrowly defined professional sense) and our understanding of the past. 

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Presentazione del progetto ArchAIDE Archaeological Automatic Interpretation and Documentation of cEramics

Un team di ricercatori italiani guida uno dei più innovativi progetti nel mondo dell'archeologia finanziato dalla Comunità Europea con il programma Horizon 2020. Il progetto ArchAIDE è stato vinto dall'Università di Pisa, che avrà il ruolo di capofila di un consorzio internazionale finanziato con 2 milioni e 460mila euro.

November 29, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Elephantine Reports Online

[First posted in AWOL 13 November 2012, updated 29 November 2016 (no longer accessible at the original site - links now go to the Internet Archive)]

Elephantine Grenzstadt und Handelsposten an der Südgrenze Ägyptens - Southern border town and trading post of Ancient Egypt
Fig.1: Elephantine: panoramic view © DAI
DAI - Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
...The aim of the excavations at Elephantine is to provide a coherent picture of the different parts of an ancient settlement and the interrelations between its temples, houses and cemeteries. Detailing the cultural development of the site, and using it as a source to extrapolate settlement patterns in other, less archaeologically accessible settlements is part of the objective of the mission. It is a rare moment when mud-brick settlement remains can be viewed by the public. This was formally made available as an open-air onsite museum in 1998.

The research program at Elephantine intends to not only excavate large portions of the site and to study and restore it, but to try to understand Elephantine’s role in the larger economical, political, ethnical and social contexts, both on the regional and the supra-regional level. The work aims to follow, diachronically, the developments across the different époques and disciplines. For such an approach, the preservation of the site and its layers with its moderate extension offers ideal conditions.

Currently, the mission is supporting the efforts of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to restore and refurbish the old museum on Elephantine Island...

Online: Excavation and Restoration on Elephantine Island

33rd season 2004 (pdf, 2.99 Mbyte)
34th season 2005 (pdf, 3.21 Mbyte)
35th season 2006 (pdf, 3.21 Mbyte)
36th Season 2007 (pdf, 3.63 Mbyte)
37th Season 2008 (pdf, 2.34 Mbyte)
38th Season 2009 (pdf, 1.94 Mbyte)
39th Season 2010 (pdf, 6.09 Mbyte)
40th Season 2011 (pdf, 4.77 Mbyte)
41st Season 2012 (pdf,5.3 Mbyte)

Open Access Egyptology: Thotweb

[First posted in AWOL 9 February 2011, updated 29 November 2016]

Thotweb Égyptologie
Thotweb was created in 1997 by a group of fellow students in egyptology. Its aim is to help spreading egyptological information throughout the world and to stimulate international cooperation.
At the time being, most of it is in french, but it will be eventually translated into english, except for the research articles, which will remain in their original languages.
Its main divisions are :
Our "Portal" is one of the biggest of the egyptological web. Continuously updated, it features pages, that means that a web site can be listed several times according to its content. This thematic approach makes it very useful. The sub-divisions of our portal are:
Our "Encyclopedia" is for the layman and the egyptologist alike. It has short notices and articles, with links to relevant egyptian inscriptions in adobat pdf format. For instance, someone interested in the reign of king Ahmose will be able to download its great inscription in Karnak, the autobiography of Ahmose, son of Abana, and the donation stela of queen Ahmose-Nefertary. It is like a virtual library at your disposal.
We also produce CD-Rom reeditions of ancient and useful egyptological books. They are in our "Library" section.
The aim of our "Virtual tour" is to provide photographs of archaelogical sites. They are rationnaly classified, according to the numerotation and the maps of the "Porter and Moss". It takes time to make it. If you want to share your photographs too, you are quite welcome.
The "Professional" section presents research works, interviews, and lists hundreds of academic researches. If you are writing a Ph.D which is not listed, please contact us.
We also host a "Forum", in fact a discussion list, and you are welcome to join.
Our "News" are also regularly updated, and provide information on discoveries and symposiums alike.
Lastly, our "Travel" section, still under development, will present some facts helping to arrange travels to Egypt.
I hope you will find Thotweb useful. Don't hesitate to let me know of any criticism or remarks you might like to do.

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Turning the Tide

1000 years ago, on 30 November 1016, the Scandinavian leader Cnut became king of all England following the death of Edmund Ironside. What do you know about King Cnut? Ask a British or Danish person of a certain age, and they’ll probably tell you the story about King Cnut and...

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Supermonk

While working on the early medieval manuscripts at the British Library, I can’t help notice the sophistication and vision of the people who lived over 1000 years ago. They certainly had different worldviews and priorities from people living today; but I’m constantly surprised by the ambition of some of their...

AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

Council on Foreign Relations - publications and other free resources on the Middle East and North Africa.


"The CFR Campus LibGuide highlights a selection of free educational resources about U.S. foreign policy and international affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations. You can link to this LibGuide from your website or copy it to create or supplement your own LibGuides."

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Call for Participants: Editing biographies of women classicists

Wikipedia Editathon
Wikipedia currently hosts around 200 biographies of classicists, of which only approximately 10% are of women. This WCC initiative is taking steps towards redressing this gender imbalance, by training and encouraging classicists to edit Wikipedia with this focus.

We are offering a free face-to-face training event and editathon, supported by Wikimedia UK, to launch a programme of more informal remote editing sessions. This launch event will take place at the Institute of Classical Studies (ICS), Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, from 10.30-17.30 on 23rd January 2017.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the ICS this event is free to attend, with lunch and coffee provided. Places are, however, limited, and registration is therefore essential. For those unable to travel to London, participation via Skype is also possible. Participants with disabilities are welcome; if you need particular support to enable you to take part, please let us know.

To reserve a place (either to participate in person or via Skype) and for further details please email the organisers, Claire Millington (claire.millington [at] kcl.ac.uk) and Emma Bridges (e.e.bridges [at] open.ac.uk) by 16th January 2017.

Ovid's Metamorphoses, by C. Northrup

Ovid's Metamorphoses
By C. Northrup
Check the self-portrait in the lamp ;)
Hello!  My name is Charlie and this is my comic!  Well, it’s not entirely my comic… I am translating and adapting a 2000+ year old Latin poem called the Metamorphoses.  It’s written by a real awesome dude named Ovid, who lived approximately 43 BCE – 17/18 CE –  so, really, he should get the writing credit…  I’ve modified some things here and there, so I will always post the corresponding lines of the poem below, along with my translation. (Latin nerds: feel free to email me and criticise my translation!)  It is my stated goal to remain as faithful to the poem as possible, but I do like to make it accessible to modern audiences at the same time.  So, check the Latin and throw something at me if I deviate too far!
I’m also doing a little PhD dissertation on this poem, so I will gush about the poem and the context below, if you fancy a gander at my ramblings…

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

A Deep Map of the Bakken

Over the long weekend, I immersed myself in William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth: (a deep map). (1991). I didn’t know this book until a conversation with a few graduate students this summer after my tortured attempts to explain my tourist guide to the Bakken project. I wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “deep map,” but as I explored PrairyErth, I came to realize that Heat-Moon’s project with this work, which explores a single county in Kansas, was fundamentally similar to what I wanted to do with my tourist guide. The biggest difference was that Heat-Moon was a kind of story-teller, ethnographer, and oral historians where my speciality was in things.

So, the base map for the deep map that I want to prepare for the Bakken is the tourist guide (which should appear next year from NDUS Press). It provides a route through the space of the Bakken which runs across US Route 2 before turning south at 13-Mile Corner to trace US Route 85. This inverted L forms the main artery of the Bakken both from its origins around Tioga to its current heart in William and McKenzie Counties. Our anchors are the towns of Ray, Stanley, Tinga, Williston, and Watford City, but we recognize that the Bakken is also made of places like the abandoned town of Wheelock, the depopulated township of Manitou, the area called Johnson’s Corner, and the numerous nameless agglomerations of tanks, unit yards, mobile workforce housing, and gas plants. This is the framework for a deep map.

When we submitted the original draft of the guide to new Heritage Guide series editor at the NDSU Press, he suggested that we add more people to our work. I begrudgingly did this, thinking all the while, that tourist guides aren’t really about people but about places, monuments, and stories. If people do appear, they’re past people or individuals who make short cameos (like the kindly priest who has the keys to the historic church or the vivacious merchant who will offer you tea while you browse his wares). Complicating matters more is that our guide is not about a landscape forged in the distant past but about a dynamic contemporary space. In other words, historic personages who populate traditional tourist guides played a relatively small role in our work because our primary focus was on the present. While I don’t regret the decision of inserting a few people in our guide, I think the object-oriented approach to our guide limits how one can encounter the Bakken landscape.  

Heat-Moon’s deep map is, in contrast, all about people. Most short chapters, even those with a rather more empirical bent, focus on the people from Chase County, Kansas. In fact, he uses the ugly word “countians” so many times that I am almost comfortable with it. For the Bakken, we have hundreds of pages of transcribed interviews that could populate our deep map and we received a small grant from the University of North Dakota to publish these interviews next year.

Heat-Moon’s deep map is more than just people, though. He uses people to tell the geological, the historical, the political, the cultural and the economic story of the county’s various landscapes and places. We’re fortunate for western North Dakota to have not only an outstanding (and new) geological history, but also have an intriguing (and growing) body of literature about the region and some solid historical treatments of the places. 

As I continue to turn the idea of a deep map over in my head, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that guide to the Bakken is just a beginning for a deep map. 

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Twitter Recap: 2016 ASOR Annual Meeting

A big thanks to everyone who attended and helped make the 2016 ASOR Annual Meeting an amazing event. We couldn't have done it without you! Also, to everyone [...]

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Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Easy Doesn’t Mean Right

Is the easy way always the best way?

During the 1st semester of the fellowship, fellows are responsible for completing a series of tasks focused on certain topics such as project management, web mapping, and data visualization. As a returning fellow, I completed these tasks last year. Because of this, groups usually include at least one of the three returning fellows to help current fellows complete these mini-projects. I have found over the past semester that though this is beneficial, there are some times when the knowledge I have of an easy way to do something is a hinderance when showing others how to complete the tasks.

For example, during the data visualization challenge, I showed my group members the data visualization tool ‘silk.co’, which is the program that we used in our data viz project last year. Silk is convenient because you can just input your data and imbed simple code into your html, which then pulls directly from Silk’s website. The problem with this is where the data is actually being pulled from. Pulling the visualizations from a third-party website is problematic if the site’s server goes down or if the third-party program you are using ceases to exist. In these cases your visualizations would no longer appear.


After we completed our webpage using Silk for the data viz challenge, I realized that what we did seemed too easy and went back to our directions. The directions specifically say to use a “javascript framework” to tell your data story. A javascript framework creates the visualization in your code, so it is not pulling from any third-party sources for the information. Concerned that my group had ‘broken the rules’, I went to Dr. Watrall to ask about using silk.co for our challenge. He made it clear that Silk, is a data visualization tool, not a framework. After explaining my error to the group, we moved forward and completed our project the correct way. Our group used “Google Chart Tools” (a javascript framework) to create our visualizations through the html and javascript of our project’s webpage.

An example of one of our visualizations, showing National Park vs. Reserve Land in Canada

An example of one of our visualizations created using a javascript framework, showing National Park vs. Reserve Land in Canada

I have realized a few times this semester that knowing an easy way to do something is not always the best or right way to perform the task. However, I keep realizing that making mistakes is just part of the project development process. Now that our group challenges are over, I will need to remember this as I move forward with my individual CHI project, which I will discuss in my next blog post.