Electra Atlantis: Digital Approaches to Antiquity


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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February 15, 2016

Digital Classicist Berlin

Deep Learning and Computational Authorship Attribution for Ancient Greek Texts. The case of the Attic Orators.

Talk: Mike Kestemont (University of Antwerp), Francesco Mambrini (German Archaeological Institute) and Marco Passarotti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan), “Deep Learning and Computational Authorship Attribution for Ancient Greek Texts. The case of the Attic Orators”.

Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-1780-0000-0029-C053-E

Date: Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Time: starting at 17:00 c.t. (i.e. 17:15)

Venue: TOPOI Building Dahlem, Hittorfstraße 18 D-14195 Berlin (map)


The debate on the authorship of the texts by the Ancient Greek authors is as old as the formation of Greek literary culture itself. Naturally, this debate has always known an important methodological dimension. Although the systematic study of the language and style of the Greek classics has played a pioneering role in philology, attribution research on Greek texts has so far remained relatively isolated from the development of computational stylometry, apart from a number of scattered studies in the recent past (e.g. [13, 10, 2, 5]).

In this seminar we present the results of an ongoing collaboration in which we apply a broad range of state-of-the-art techniques from stylometry to the corpus of the Attic orators, using the digitized texts included in the Perseus Digital Library [1]. The corpus encompasses the surviving works of 10 authors who were active in Athens from the last quarter of the 5th to the end of the 4th century BC. These authors remained the most canonized representatives of the genre of oratory until the end of Antiquity. The corpus is highly suitable as a test bed for stylometric experiments because of its considerable size (ca. 600K words), its uniformity in terms of genre and chronology, as well as the differences in personality and background between the authors it includes. Interestingly, it additionally presents a number of long-standing problems in attribution which remain to be solved, such as the authorship of the “Funeral Speech” (2) or the oration “Against Andokides” (6) attributed to Lysias, or of Demosthenes’ “On the Halonnesus” (7) (see e.g. [13], [12, 26-31] and [4, 65-98]).

In our exposition, we formalize authorship attribution as a text classification task in which an anonymous text has to be attributed to one of a series of candidate authors [11, 6, 8]. In terms of textual features, we focus on token unigrams and character unigrams, which are easy to extract, but have nevertheless shown excellent performance in previous research [7]. An important novelty is that we compare a number of established classification approaches in stylometry (e.g. Principal Components Analysis, Burrows’s Delta, Support Vector Machines) to a set of novel neural network approaches from Representation Learning.

Representation learning or Deep Learning is an increasingly popular branch of Machine Learning in which neural networks are used to map input data (such as texts or images) to the correct output labels [3, 9]. Neural networks have shown outstanding performance in a variety of classification tasks (e.g. face detection in computer vision), but so far, they been been rarely applied in computational authorship studies. We will show that deep nets show excellent performance across multiple experimental setups for this corpus, and that they rival (and often outperform) the best attribution algorithms currently available. This is true in terms of plain performance, but also in terms of interpretability, because there exist many intuitive methods to visualize which latent representations a network has learned during training (compare Figs. 1 and 2). The question of how to read these results in light of the history of the corpus, as well as what new insights and research perspectives emerge on the authors and texts, will be discussed in the conclusions.


[1] Perseus Digital Library. Canonical – Greek Literature. https://github.com/PerseusDL/canonical-greekLit.

[2] C. Belcastro and Paolo Ruffolo. A mathematical classification of the Platonic corpus. Linguistica Computazionale, 20-21:1–19, 2000.

[3] Yoshua Bengio, Aaron C. Courville, and Pascal Vincent. Unsupervised feature learning and deep learning: A review and new perspectives. CoRR, abs/1206.5538, 2012.

[4] Luciano Canfora. Discorsi e lettere di Demostene. Discorsi all’assemblea, volume 1. Utet, Torino, 1974.

[5] Christopher W. Forstall and Walter J. Scheirer. Features from frequency: authorship and stylistic analysis using repetitive sound. Journal of the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science, 1(2), 2010.

[6] Patrick Juola. Authorship attribution. Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, 1(3):233–334, 2006.

[7] Mike Kestemont. Function words in authorship attribution. from black magic to theory? In Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Literature (CLFL), pages 59–66, Gothenburg, Sweden:, 2014. Association for Computational Linguistics.

[8] Moshe Koppel, Jonathan Schler, and Shlomo Argamon. Computational methods in authorship attribution. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(1):9–26, 2009.

[9] Yann LeCun, Yoshua Bengio, and Geoffrey Hinton. Deep learning. Nature, 521(7553):436–444, 2015.

[10] Bernd Ludwig. A contribution to the question of authenticity of Rhesus using part-of-speech tagging. In Gerhard Brewka, Christopher Habel, and Bernhard Nebel, editors, KI-97: Advances in Artificial Intelligence, pages 231–242. Springer, Berlin and Heidelberg, 1997.

[11] Efstathios Stamatatos. A survey of modern authorship attribution methods. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 60(3):538–556, 2009.

[12] Stephen Charles Todd. A Commentary on Lysias, speeches 1-11. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007.

[13] Stephen Usher and Dietmar Najock. A statistical study of authorship in the Corpus Lysiacum. Computers and the Humanities, 16(2):85–105, October 1982.

[14] Laurens van der Maaten and Geoffrey E. Hinton. Visualizing high-dimensional data using t-sne. Journal of Machine Learning Research, 9:2579–2605, 2008.

February 12, 2016

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Tourist Guide Maps

I started to make the first round of maps for the Tourist Guide to the Bakken Oil Patch.

Here’s the map for Route 1:

TG Route1

Here’s the map for Route 2:

TG Route2

As always comments and mockery are appreciated in equal measure!

February 11, 2016

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Projekt/Project Naga

Projekt/Project Naga

 Naga is the southernmost city of the Kingdom of Meroe, the neighbour and powerful rival of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Situated northeast of Khartum, the capital of the Republic of the Sudan, in the steppe far from the banks of the Nile, Naga has remained untouched since its heyday from 200 BC to 250 AD. In other words, this site, sprawling over one square kilometre, provides ideal conditions for archaeological research. With financial backing by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (the German Research Association), the Egyptian Museum in Berlin excavated at Naga from 1995 to 2012; in 2013 they became a project of the Egyptian Museum in Munich.

Naga ist die südlichste Stadt des Königreichs von Meroë, des Nachbarn und mächtigen Rivalen des ptolemäischen und römischen Ägypten. Nordöstlich von Khartum, der Hauptstadt der Republik Sudan, weitab vom Nil in der Steppe gelegen, ist Naga seit seiner Blütezeit von 200 v. Chr. bis 250 n. Chr. unberührt geblieben; damit bietet das einen Quadratkilometer große Ruinenareal optimale Bedingungen für archäologische Feldforschung. Die Grabungen in Naga wurden, von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft finanziert, 1995-2012 vom Ägyptischen Museum Berlin geleitet und sind seit 2013 ein Projekt des Ägyptischen Museums München.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Mapping Morton Village: Writing the Content

In this post, I would like to discuss what will be included within the Mapping Morton Village interactive map. For the past several weeks, Nikki Silva and myself have been working on the written content of Mapping Morton Village. We decided to write the content of the site with the public in mind, focusing on giving general background information. The map will have multiple layers, showing the extent of each year’s excavations. Each layer will highlight a different aspect of archaeological excavation and research, as well as give examples from Morton Village.

Topics that we will include are:

  • Salvage archaeology vs. long-term research project
  • Excavation methods at Morton Village
  • Lab protocols and the importance of cataloging and inventory
  • Household and community organization
  • Ceramic analyses
  • Paleoethnobotany
  • Magnetometry
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Lithic analyses
  • Public archaeology
morton ceramic

Portion of ceramic vessel from Morton Village being analyzed in the lab.

These topics were chosen to discuss what archaeology is, and how the Morton Village research project is run, and the various areas of research that are ongoing at the site. As the Morton Village site was discovered through a highway expansion project, we are able to discuss the differences in priorities and methods between salvage archaeology and long-term research projects.

As we were writing, we made sure to first describe why each aspect of archaeology is important and how what can be learned from different types of analysis. Also, we will be integrating specific examples and images of artifacts recovered at Morton Village for each topic. While we are still fine turning and making edits to the content of the site, we look forward to sharing more information about the written content.

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

My new article, "All Roads Lead to Rome," and the media coverage of it

After more years than I care to admit, my last proper article based on my dissertation research is out (although there are a couple book chapters yet to come that include data from it as case studies).  This one, though, represents the meat of my dissertation.

Individual ET38 from Castellaccio Europarco
(1st-2nd c AD, Rome) was likely an immigrant.
Unsurprisingly enough, since Imperial Rome was ridiculously complex, it's taken a while to work through the data, and especially to take into account all the things that wonkify (yes, that's a real science term) the isotopes.  Whereas most bioarchaeologists who do isotope analysis can be pretty sure their local population was eating, drinking, and living locally, it's impossible to start from that assumption in Rome, what with the importing of grain, the aqueducts bringing in millions of gallons of water a day, and the moving around the Empire. So this article is not the last word on migration and skeletons -- in fact, in most ways, it's the first. And I hope that more studies are done (including my own ongoing work with DNA) to dig into the complexity rather than shy away from it.

I published this in PLOS ONE because it's open-access, and it's important to me to have these data and interpretations accessible to anthropologists and classicists alike.  That's also why much of the writing isn't heavy on the science jargon -- I frequently get comments on my peer-reviewed articles that mention their readability, and I can thank my blogging for that.  Finally, I have also opened up my entire database from this project, as it was funded by the NSF, Wenner-Gren, and UNC, and there's no sense in my sitting on the database any longer, even though there are unpublished data in there (e.g., dental pathologies).

But without further ado, below are a link to the PLOS article, a link to the original relational database, and a collection of news media coverage in at least half a dozen languages.

  • News Articles in Spanish
    • La Vanguardia - Identificados por primera vez inmigrantes en la antigua Roma
    • SINC - Hallados los primeros restos humanos de inmigrantes en la Roma Imperial
    • La Informacion and ABC Sociedad - Un estudio halla evidencia de migración humana a la Roma imperial en un cementerio de hace 2.000 años
    • Europa Press - Primeros restos de inmigrantes que vivieron en la Roma Imperial
    • News Articles in Italian
      • ANSA - Primi identikit dei migranti nella Roma imperiale
      • Galileo Net - Gli scheletri che raccontano la storia delle migrazioni a Roma
      • Scienze Fanpage - Chi erano i migranti nell'antica Roma?
      • San Francesco - I migranti della Roma imperiale arrivavano da Nord Africa e Alpi
    • News Articles in French
    • News Articles in German
      • Science ORF - Isotope "erzählen" Migration im alten Rom
    • News Articles in Hungarian
      • Hirado - Fogaik alapján azonosítottak ókori római bevándorlókat
    • News Articles in Russian
      • Lenta - В Древнем Риме нашли мигрантов
      • RIA - Ученые выяснили, какие мигранты работали на "имперских" стройках Рима
      • UA Press - Всі дороги ведуть до Риму - знайдені останки переселенців з інших регіонів
    • News Articles in Polish
      • Wyborcza - Wszystkie drogi prowadzą do Rzymu. Nowe badania nad migracją

    dh+lib: where the digital humanities and librarianship meet

    RECOMMENDED: To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community and the Power to Name

    Mx A. Matienzo (Digital Public Library of America) has posted a version of their keynote address from the 2015 Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) Forum, “To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community and the Power to Name.” Matienzo frames the talk in the context of a hope that “… we can start to examine linked data, particularly within the context of cultural heritage, and how it is decidedly not neutral, nor an intrinsic good, but instead as another space in which ideology and systematic oppression are likely to be reproduced.”

    The talk opens with an acknowledgment of its own deep context, with nods to the influences of individuals, personal and professional background, conversations, articles, books, and “… the stark reality that students of color are facing at University of Missouri, and other campuses across the country.” Matienzo references the power of naming and classification: “It should be clear that the naming function of metadata raises a contentious point in that it allows assumptions and oppression to be reproduced over time.” Given that “… naming is fundamentally unavoidable in knowledge representation …. we need to make a decision whether we choose to name with an intention of justice, or with the pretense of neutrality and objectivity.”

    How does linked data extend or interrupt the constructed, non-neutral character of metadata? Matienzo asserts a belief in linked data’s power to decentralize and democratize assertions but argues that linked data’s value propositions– such as Web-accessibility– and foundational concepts–“the open world assumption” and the “anyone can make statements about any resource” aspect– bear closer scrutiny and work. They write:

    … we have to recognize the folly of imposing our good intentions in regards to the production of linked data, or any form of documentation, without listening to these communities. These spaces are not always ours, and like the students occupying the quad at University of Missouri, we should be ready to make the space they demand when they do so. Even when we directly engage members of a community and request their presence in a project to correct a perceived absence of voices, we must recognize that this in itself is a form of labor that also has political and emotional impact. In her recent article “Minor Threats,” Mimi Thi Nguyen relates a case where she was urged to add materials to the riot grrrl archive at the Fales Library at New York University which viewed the absence of materials created by or about women of color from the collection, as “a crisis, a decisive historical moment that demanded mediation.”16 She asks us to consider what might be lost or hidden in the process of “correction” of an absence and that correction is pursued. Without thought, without conversation, and without vulnerability on the part of those of you with good intentions, our process of correction can simultaneously introduce and spackle over its own violence. To Hell with good intentions, and to Hell with well-intentioned linked data.

    Matienzo calls for the development of simple tools to encourage community-authored narratives and make linked data “… easier to publish, consume, and reuse for all kinds of institutions and communities,” asserting:

    Despite my concerns about the lack of access to effective user-facing tools for linked data, I still believe its power is in its ability to leverage that decentralization. Relying on centralized authority management or metadata creation for everything, and the corporatization of library infrastructure, actively resists that decentralizing force, further limiting our own effectiveness in the construction of radical democracy.

    POST: Library-Faculty Partnerships Enrich Undergraduate Teaching at Washington and Lee

    In a post on the Digital Library Federation’s blog this week, Mackenzie Brooks and Brandon Walsh (both Washington and Lee University) detail collaborations between librarians and faculty on undergraduate-centered digital pedagogy and scholarship across Washington and Lee University. Brooks and Walsh state that their “primary goal is to foster communication and training among librarians and faculty at all levels of technical skill in the service of encouraging new approaches to digital pedagogy and research methodology.”

    The post goes on to describe the structure of DH interest groups on campus, as well as the inroads made at integrating DH into the undergraduate curriculum. Brooks and Walsh close with their rationale for focusing on library-faculty partnerships, and emphasize the role of the liberal arts campus library as a digital scholarship hub:

    We see the library as the natural home for digital humanities initiatives on the liberal arts campus. The expertise of our faculty and staff in digital technologies and information literacy pedagogy, combined with our close relationships with ITS colleagues and concentration on the practical implications of digital scholarship, stands to enrich the undergraduate curriculum. We offer the library to our students as a space where they can meet faculty and staff as collaborators as well as educators.

    POST: Embracing ephemerality in the digital humanities

    In a post on his blog, “Embracing ephemerality in the digital humanities,” Andy Schocket (Bowling Green State University) writes about the long-term sustainability of digital humanities projects and how the ephemeral nature of some of this scholarship can impact DH work.

    One thing that not many digital humanists write about directly, but has become increasingly clear to practitioners in the field, is how ephemeral so much of our thought and work is, especially in comparison to traditional humanities products likes articles and books. What if, while still trying to make our projects more sustainable, we were also to accept ephemerality as central to digital humanities practice?

    Shocket closes his post with three suggestions for embracing ephemerality:

    1. “Include a ‘snapshot’ plan as a requirement for grants.”
    2. “Embrace intentional project sunsets”
    3. “Live in the moment.”

    CFP: Celebrating Communities of Practice in Digital Humanities | Digital Frontiers 2016

    Digital Frontiers is seeking proposals for their 2016 conference, to be held September 22-24 at Rice University. The conference theme is “Celebrating Communities of Practice in Digital Humanities,” and possible topics include:

    • Transdisciplinary perspectives from new media, art and art history, STEAM and STEM, GLAM
    • Lessons learned retrospective about digital humanities project successes/failures
    • Evaluation, assessment, outcomes
    • Community support through digital initiatives
    • Conceptual research project discussions
    • Communities under-represented in Digital Humanities: #pocodh, #disruptdh, #transformdh #queerdh
    • Tools for digital research
    • Learning communities and pedagogy in Digital Humanities
    • Research projects designed in a Digital Humanities framework
    • Collaboration in Digital Humanities

    Proposals are due April 15, 2016 and can be submitted through their Open Conference Systems site.

    CFP: Colloquium on Digital Visualisation in the Humanities

    The University of Reading has issued a call for papers on “current or recent projects, and the methods, practicalities, challenges, and goals of digital visualisation of any sort, across all humanities disciplines,” for the Data Visualisation Colloquium, to be held at Reading on March 31, 2016.

    Papers are invited on current or recent projects, and the methods, practicalities, challenges, and goals of digital visualisation of any sort, across all humanities disciplines.

    We hope to hear from a variety of projects and disciplinary backgrounds, and to have the opportunity for discussion as well.

    Travel expenses will be payable to speakers, through the generous support of the British Academy “Rising Star” Engagement Award scheme.

    Contact Elisabeth Meijer (e.h.meijer@pgr.reading.ac.uk) with questions.

    JOB: Digital Scholarship Librarian, Georgia State University

    From the announcement:

    Georgia State University Library seeks a collegial, entrepreneurial, and hands-on Digital Scholarship Librarian skilled at using technology to support interdisciplinary digital projects in a wide array of subject areas, including but not limited to the digital humanities. The Digital Scholarship Librarian will be engaged in the exploration of new forms of online scholarship, and in partnering with scholars on the development, implementation, assessment, enhancement and maintenance of sustainable digital projects. 

    The successful candidate will partner with university faculty and staff, and with colleagues and units within the library, to lead digital scholarship projects. Projects may involve the use of data sets, spatial analytical tools and interactive maps, text mining and qualitative analysis, 3D visualization and modeling, and designing online exhibits, among other possibilities. The ideal candidate has strong project management skills, and is open to experimentation, expanding the research librarys role, and exploring new faculty collaborations outside the library to further digital scholarship, new forms of publishing, and scholarly engagement. Georgia State University librarians hold non-tenure track faculty rank and are expected to engage in service and scholarly activities.

    JOB: Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of North Texas

    From the announcement:

    The University of North Texas Libraries, serving the largest and most comprehensive university in the Dallas–Fort Worth metro area, are a pioneer in fostering the transformation of libraries and of scholarly communication. With four physical locations on campus and an even larger digital footprint, with digital-library collections including over 10 million items, the Libraries were one of the first to archive web sites, one of the founding members of the Library Publishing Coalition, and the first non-federal library to participate in the Federal Information Preservation Network (FIPNet). Since 2010 the Libraries host an annual open-access symposium with speakers from around the world, and the Libraries are the driving force behind the Cross Timbers Library Collaborative, which brings together library staff from across the region for professional development and collaboration. The Libraries receive about $1 million per year in funding from grants and foundations.

    Reporting to and working in close collaboration with the Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communication, the Scholarly Communication Librarian will contribute to the Libraries’ efforts to educate users about the transformation of scholarly communication and foster a more sustainable publishing ecosystem. 

    JOB: Digital Scholarship Librarian, University of Minnesota

    From the announcement:

    The Digital Scholarship Librarian (DSL) provides strategic direction for the University of Minnesota Libraries in developing and sustaining new models of support for digital scholarship, primarily through coordination of the Digital Arts Sciences & Humanities (DASH) initiative. The DSL guides campus scholars on the integration of digital technologies and methodologies in research and teaching, including developing workshops and other events and overseeing development and execution of specific digital scholarship projects. The DSL facilitates a DASH operations cooperative composed of members from multiple campus units, including Liberal Arts Technologies & Innovation Services (LATIS) in the College of Liberal Arts, and manages an overall portfolio of projects. The DSL has responsibility for shaping additional partnerships in support of the DASH initiative. The DSL works in close collaboration with liaison librarians, special collections curators and archivists, program leads on data curation and publishing services, staff in LATIS, and other campus units.

    AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

    Coptic Scriptorium

    Coptic Scriptorium
    Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a platform for interdisciplinary and computational research in texts in the Coptic language, particularly the Sahidic dialect.  As an open-source, open-access initiative, our technologies and corpus facilitate a collaborative environment for digital research for all scholars working in Coptic. We provide:
    • tools to process Coptic texts
    • a searchable, richly-annotated corpus of texts using the ANNIS search and visualization architecture
    • visualizations of Coptic texts
    • a collaborative platform for scholars to use and contribute to the project
    • research results generated from the tools and corpus
    Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a collaborative, digital project created by Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific) and Amir Zeldes (Georgetown University). Our team is constantly growing.
    We hope Coptic SCRIPTORIUM will serve as a model for future digital humanities projects utilizing historical corpora or corpora in languages outside of the Indo-European and Semitic language families. Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the project, methodologies, and terminology.
    Latest news: [more]

    Classics in Arabic

    Classics in Arabic
    "The blog aggregates news about publications, activities, etc. related to Arabic scholarship in the field of classics and thus seeks to provide greater access to non-Arabic scholars. The news comes mainly from Egypt without excluding other Arabic countries. It aims also at directing the attention of my Egyptian/Arabic colleagues to relevant classics materials from an Arabic context, whether this is Graeco-Arabicum or Arabico-Latinum."

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    New Open Access Journal: FuturoClassico FCl

    FuturoClassico FCl
    ISSN: 2465-0951
    La rivista «FuturoClassico» è emanazione del Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca di ‘Studi sulla Tradizione’ (Università di Bari-Università della Repubblica di San Marino-Università di Padova), nato nel 2013, per promuovere l’aggregazione di studiosi dei più disparati ambiti delle Humanities intorno al tema della tradizione e della sopravvivenza, della fortuna e della ricezione della civiltà classica e tardoantica nelle età medievale, umanistico-rinascimentale, moderna e contemporanea.

    N° 1 (2015)



    Olimpia Imperio
    1 - 6

    Luciano Canfora
    7 - 11

    Claudio Schiano
    12 - 29

    Corrado Petrocelli
    30 - 35

    Federico Rampini
    36 - 41

    Andrea Giardina
    42 - 55

    AMIR: Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

    Open Access Archive: American University in Cairo Board of Trustees Meetings Minutes


    "The American University in Cairo - Board of Trustees Meetings Minutes digital collection primarily includes meeting agendas and minutes, as well as additional documentation such as budgets, correspondence, reports, and memoranda. The collection includes minutes ranging from the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of Cairo Christian University on November 30, 1914 to the American University at Cairo’s meeting on December 19, 1959"

    Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

    Speed, Professionalism, and the New Media in Archaeology

    Michael Smith’s blog, Publishing Archaeology, is usually pretty good. He can be a bit curmudgeonly and particular in his views, but that’s largely what makes Publishing Archaeology a worthwhile read. 

    Over the past few days, he got himself in a bit of hot water by offering a frank and honest critique of a lecture he attended by Rosemary Joyce at the University of Colorado. The arguments that he advanced in his critique don’t interest me much, and, for the record, I don’t particularly agree with them. It is clear that the way in which he offered his critiques upset people and prompted a response. And this response led to a conversation, of sorts, an apology and some kind of resolution. What really interested me in this exchange is not really what they were saying to each other, but how it was said.

    1. Facebook and New Media. One of the things that surprised Smith was that a group of graduate students at Colorado took issue with his blog post on the Joyce lecture and issues a response, of sorts, on Facebook. Smith states, in his typical honesty: “I guess I just don’t understand the world of social media,” and he then invited the students to post their comment to his blog to initiate a conversation there.

    What excited me is this exactly the kind of de-centered debate that Andrew Reinhard and I noted in a recent article for Internet Archaeology where we note that Twitter and Facebook have started to replace the comment section on blogs as the key space for academic social interaction. In fact, many professional bloggers have disabled the comment feed all together in their blogs pushing conversation to social media. Interestingly, Michael Smith offered a thoughtful open, peer review of our article, and stated that he did feel much sense of community with other bloggers for technical reasons (the lack of trackbacks in Bloggers) as well as personal ones. Fair enough. We may have overstated the significance of the blogging community, but be clearly became aware that his blog post was creating a buzz through comments on Twitter. He may not regard his Twitter followers as a community in any real sense, but this is the kind of interaction through social media constituted the kind of digitally mediated relationships that we noted as significant to academic bloggers.

    2. The Personal and the Professional. Smith noted that he preferred not to engage in these conversations on Facebook because “he tried to avoid using Facebook for professional purposes.” The idea that some digital venues function best for professional conversations – say email or letters – while others are better reserved for personal life. Again, I’m not really interested in critiquing Michael Smith’s personal preferences here, but it is interesting to note that questions of the personal and professional resound throughout academia.

    Hardly a year goes by without someone posting on work/life balance or offering some sage advice for carving out personal time amid the growing number of academic and professional obligations. I tend to relate these conversations to the extended professionalization process in academia in which vocational craft has gradually given way to salaried work. The latter has offered democratized access to academic positions, but also to the ever expanding structure of audit culture, the assessocracy, contractual work, and compliance. In other words, the division of professional and personal space on the web requires us to recognize that professional space (activities, attitudes, conversations) exist outside of our personal identities. While a more articulated division between the personal and the professional has had certain advantages for academics, it is clear that in the digital and social media realm such divisions remained blurry. The case of Steven Salaita who saw a job offer from the University of Illinois rescinded after anti-semitic tweets is a useful reminder that the boundary between our professional life and personal life in social media is not entirely ours to determine. Smith’s reluctance in using Facebook for professional conversations might reflect a separation between the personal and professional that no longer exists.

    3. Speed, Media, and Openness. As readers of this blog know, I’m fascinated by the impact of speed on scholarly production and communication. Smith’s blog post appeared the day after the talk which it described and the response from Colorado graduate students appeared only two days later. The entire conversation has seemingly resolved itself less than a week after it began. 

    The willingness of Smith to engage in the conversation, the punctuality of his replies, and the general openness of the conversation is a remarkable feature of social and new media world. One might want, of course, for Smith to expand his challenge to Joyce’s views, and one might want the graduate students to engage Smith’s ideas in a more developed way, but this would take time, rob the conversation of some of its immediate context, and almost certainly obscure the visceral character of both Smith’s and the graduate student’s response behind an impersonal shield of academic prose. 

    The informality of this conversation can cause hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and confusion, but it reflects a part of the intellectual and academic process that we often hide. Traditional publishing – for all its strengths and value – tends to depersonalize academic conversations and adhere to professional standards that have little room for confessions that a theory seems “incomprehensible” much less “vacuous.”  We may quibble with Smith’s interpretation of Joyce’s materiality, but not with his honesty.  

    Corinthian Matters

    Ancient Corinth in 1947: Triumph over Time

    Thanasis Dimakis, resident of Vrachati on the Corinthian Gulf, kindly sent me a link to his YouTube playlist of Corinthian-related videos that include videos of nature, overviews of the region, aerial imagery of the landscape, and a couple of historical overviews. I’ll go through these in the next few weeks and post those that seem broadly relevant for this blog.

    Canal1947A still shot from Triumph Over Time showing the destruction of WWII on the Canal.

    This 12 minute video segment showing the village of Ancient Corinth in 1947 and the work of the American School Excavations at Corinth, comes from the final third of the documentary Triumph Over Time (available in full video form here on YouTube), a film directed by Oscar Broneer, produced by Margaret Thompson, and created — as Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan has shown — to publicize and raise funds in North America for the work of the American School of Classical Studies. The section on Corinth is worth viewing for the moving images of the post-war excavations, archaeologists at work, the archaeological process, and the quaint and “timeless” idyllic footage of the village and its surrounding countryside.


    Plateia1947The plateia of ancient Corinth in 1947





    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Photographs taken by Pierre Loti in Iran

    Photographs taken by Pierre Loti in Iran (Collection Maison Pierre Loti, Ville de Rochefort) are now online at Achemenet
    Edmond Gueffier devant les ruines de Persépolis (titre factice)

    © Ville de Rochefort. Collection Maison Pierre Loti.
    Edmond Gueffier devant les ruines de Persépolis. Photo Pierre Loti.

    They join Achemenet's collection of images produced in the narratives of other travelers, including:

    The Stoa Consortium

    Harpokration Online

    Posted for Joshua Sosin:

    About eight months ago we announced a lightweight tool to support collaborative translation of Harpokration—we called it ‘Harpokration On Line.’ See: https://blogs.library.duke.edu/dcthree/2015/05/26/harpokration-on-line. Well, we took our time (Mack finished a dissertation, John made serious progress on his, Josh did his first 24+ hour bike ride), and as of this afternoon there is at least one rough translation (in some cases more than one) for every entry. http://dcthree.github.io/harpokration.
    We had help from others; I mention especially Chris de Lisle, whom we have never met, but who invested considerable effort, for which all should be grateful! And many special thanks to Matthew Farmer (U Missouri) who signed on at the moment when our to-do pile contained mainly entries that we had back-burnered, while we chewed through the easier ones!
    So, we are done, but far from done. Now begins the process of correcting errors and infelicities, of which there will be many; adding new features to the tool (e.g. commentary, easy linking out to related digital resources such as Jacoby Online or Pleiades, enhanced encoding in the Greek and features built atop that, perhaps eventual reconciliation of text with Keaney as warranted). This is just a start really.
    For next year we (Sosin & Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing) plan a course at Duke in which the students will (1) start translating their way through Photios’ Lexicon in similar fashion and (2) working with Ryan Baumann and Hugh Cayless of the DC3 to help design and implement expanded features for the translation tool. We will welcome collaborators on that effort as well!
    So, here again, please feel free log in, fix, add, correct, disagree and so on. Please note that we do handle login via google; so, if that is a deal-breaker for you, we apologize. We have a rough workaround for that and would be happy to test it out with a few folks, if any should wish.
    Matthew C. Farmer (farmermc@missouri.edu)
    John P. Aldrup-MacDonald (john.smith.macdonald@duke.edu)
    Mackenzie Zalin (mack.zalin@duke.edu)

    Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

    The Earliest English Poet

    Today is the feast day of Caedmon, the first known English poet. As well as being the first named poet in the English literary tradition, he is also a significant figure in the history of people who hate singing in public, people who develop new talents later in life, and...

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Scopri la stampa 3D professionale

    Selltek – Stampanti 3D organizza per giovedì 18 Febbraio 2016 un Workshop sulla stampa 3D al Parco scientifico tecnologico Kilometro Rosso di Bergamo. Durante l'evento verranno illustrate tutte le tecnologie di stampa 3D del gruppo 3D Systems, i materiali e le applicazioni possibili della stampa 3D in generale.

    Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

    Source Project Roundup, Feb 11

    By Lindsay Muscato

    Source Project Roundup, Feb 11

    (Marshall Project)

    Here's a roundup of our favorite projects and pieces from the past couple of weeks, all worthy of another look.

    Policing the Future

    The Marshall Project, The Verge (February 3, 2016)

    What happens when police departments put “cops on dots”? Explore the technical underpinnings and moral dilemmas of policing based on crime maps. Includes clear, elegant graphics and a beautiful explainer video.

    Who Voted in New Hampshire, and How

    Wall Street Journal (February 9, 2016)
    This graphic chops a ton of exit poll data from New Hampshire into manageable, illuminating bits and pieces.

    John Kasich-related TV ads have aired in New Hampshire an average of 44 times a day this month

    Cleveland.com (February 8, 2016)

    Cleveland.com, using data from the Political TV Ad Archive, tallied just how many times Ohio Gov. John Kasich was appearing on the airwaves. Here's a sampling of more stories using the archive, from other outlets.

    How Much Are Restaurant Chains Donating to Republicans and Democrats?

    Eater (February 8, 2016)
    Check out how 14 leading restaurant chains are spending their cash on candidates. Yum.

    Experience Big Air

    Boston Globe (February 8, 2016)
    Watch out: this interactive starts right at the top of a snowboard ramp. It’s a fun way to explain how snowboarders do their thing, in advance of a massive snowboarding competition, which takes over Fenway Park this week.

    Boston Globe screenshot

    Reveal screenshot

    Portraits of a Trump Supporter

    Reveal (February 1, 2016)
    This analysis of Trump supporters humanizes a slew of cold numbers by including snapshots and audio from the humans behind the stats.

    What Your Favorite ‘L’ Seat Says About You: See If Your Seat Is in Demand

    DNAinfo Chicago (February 9, 2016)
    This interactive takes something as opaque as CTA train car design and makes it a tangible, clickable interactive. It also proves that Chicagoans really like to spread out.

    DNAinfo screenshot

    Show Turnbull How It’s Done: Make Your Own Tax Reforms

    The Guardian (February 9, 2016)
    It’s not just for prime ministers anymore: now you can experiment with tax reform, too. This calculator encourages conversation, and points to hard questions about big tradeoffs.

    Guardian screenshot

    Even more things

    Simpsons screenshot

    Here are nearly 3 million Simpsons screencaps, searchable by keyword.

    This Twitter bot simulates immigration checks based on Arizona traffic stop data. Follow to get pulled over.

    Where is the internet we were promised? Colossal says it’s in this interactive exhibit of Bosch’s “Garden of Early Delights.”

    Battling flu season? Eat your soup, like the rest of everyone, says the New York Times.

    On our last OpenNews community call, we talked to Dan Schulz about building the Political TV Ad Archive, a giant database of broadcast television. Here’s more, from the call notes. And have you joined the Coral Project community yet? Come onboard.

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

    Nicholas of Myra – the story of the generals, and of the three innocents – now online

    David Miller has kindly made us a translation of another of the legends of St Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus.  This one is the Praxis de stratelatis, which recounts how Nicholas dealt with three generals and also how the governor tried to execute three innocent men.  The narrative displays considerable knowledge of events of people of the reign of Constantine, so must be late antique.

    Here’s the translation:

    As ever this is public domain – do whatever you like with it!

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Open Access Journal: International Journal of the Platonic Tradition

    [First posted in AWOL 7 April 2012. Updated 10 February 2016]

    The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
    ISSN 1872-5082
    Online ISSN: 1872-5473

    From 2012 this is a full Open Access journal, which means that all articles are freely available, ensuring maximum, worldwide dissemination of content, in exchange for an article processing fee. For more information, see our Open Access Policy page.  
    This journal is published under the auspices of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. The international editorial board is headed by Professor John Finamore of the University of Iowa. This exciting journal covers all facets of the Platonic tradition (from Thales through Thomas Taylor, and beyond) from all perspectives (including philosophical, historical, religious, etc.) and all corners of the world (Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc.).
    The journal is published in 2 issues per year.
    Open Access icon

    Volumes & issues:

    February 10, 2016

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Classics in Arabic

    Classics in Arabic
    The blog aggregates news about publications, activities, etc. related to Arabic scholarship in the field of classics and thus seeks to provide greater access to non-Arabic scholars. The news comes mainly from Egypt without excluding other Arabic countries. It aims also at directing the attention of my Egyptian/Arabic colleagues to relevant classics materials from an Arabic context, whether this is Graeco-Arabicum or Arabico-Latinum.

    Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

    On the Hunt for Further Pieces of the Unknown Gospel from the Egerton Papyrus

    The Charm of Departmental Archives We all like and value readers’ enquiries. Although investigating old registers, departmental papers and minutes may not seem to be the summit of curatorial work, enquiries are always carefully researched and answered and – as the following will neatly prove – not without profit. The...

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Coptic Scriptorium

     [First posted in AWOL 6 December 2014, updated 10 February 2016]

    Coptic Scriptorium
    Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a platform for interdisciplinary and computational research in texts in the Coptic language, particularly the Sahidic dialect.  As an open-source, open-access initiative, our technologies and corpus facilitate a collaborative environment for digital research for all scholars working in Coptic. We provide:
    • tools to process Coptic texts
    • a searchable, richly-annotated corpus of texts using the ANNIS search and visualization architecture
    • visualizations of Coptic texts
    • a collaborative platform for scholars to use and contribute to the project
    • research results generated from the tools and corpus
    Coptic SCRIPTORIUM is a collaborative, digital project created by Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific) and Amir Zeldes (Georgetown University). Our team is constantly growing.
    We hope Coptic SCRIPTORIUM will serve as a model for future digital humanities projects utilizing historical corpora or corpora in languages outside of the Indo-European and Semitic language families. Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the project, methodologies, and terminology.
    Latest news: [more]

    Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations

    BURSARIES Available for students and young scholars presenting at DH2016

    The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations (ADHO) makes bursary awards to 14 or more students and young scholars who have submissions accepted for presentation at the annual Digital Humanities international conference. These awards are to encourage new contributions to scholarship in the digital humanities from our diverse global constituency and to involve new participants in the application of information technology in humanities research. Paper, poster and panel submissions qualify for consideration.

    The application deadline is March 13, 2016 (23:59 GMT).
    More information is available at: http://dh2016.adho.org/bursaries/

    Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

    Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 36)

    This time on "Who needs an osteologist?" we find that our own umbrella organization, the American Anthropological Association, needs to learn what physicalbiological anthropologists do.

    In case you can't see the image, "Physical Anthropology + Studies animal origins and the biologically determined nature of humankind."

    The AAA has -- let's say -- a history of not really understanding where we bio folks fit in. So let's take this word by word...

    Physical -- Yes, this word is still preserved in our early-20th-century origins, such as the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.  But very few people in the field still use the term "physical" because of its racial and racist origins.  Just... look up the history, AAA.  We favor biological now to show our focus is on more than just the physical.

    Animal origins -- Yes, some biological anthropologists study the origins of non-human primates.  But people who study animal origins broadly are... zoologists? Biologists? Come on, really?

    Biologically-determined nature -- I said I wasn't going to swear in this post, but FFS.  We're anthropologists.  It's nature *and* nurture.  We don't ignore culture.  That would be insane and very late-19th-century of us. This one phrase reflects decades of incorrect value-judgments placed on our work.

    And a bonus -- You know that forensic anthropology is part of biological anthropology, right AAA?  Or, if you want to call it an applied field, that's fine too.  But then lumping bioarchaeology in with... well, it's not covered under your definitions of archaeo, bio anth, or forensics, so I guess we don't exist.

    So, AAA, let me fix that for you:

    "Biological Anthropology + Studies the origin, form, and differences in human and non-human bodies to answer questions about evolution and past societies."

    You're welcome.

    Update (2:19pm CST) - I got an email from Jeff Martin, the Communications and Public Affairs Director for the AAA.  The text follows:
    Hi Kristina, 
    Our most sincere apologies, and duly noted. We will use the following definition to correct other versions, including those on our website under World Anthropology Day, and promote from the present forward. 
    “Biological anthropologists study contemporary and past peoples; they look at how culture shapes our biology and vice versa, and also how different biological systems impact our health and well-being.” 
    Thanks so much for letting us know. 
    It sounds like others who expressed disappointment in the AAA got a similar email.  Of course, with the AAA's doing a complete 180 on the animal subjects, the primatologists (who are biological anthropologists) are out in the cold, along with geneticists and others.

    So, close but no cigar, AAA.

    Robert Consoli (Squinches)


    180 ‘..Et trovai un chemin a destre
    Parmi une forest espesse.’

    180 ‘..And I found a path to the right
    Into a thick forest.’

    Chrétien de Troyes, 12C


    The Yvainof Chrétien de Troyes was the subject of a justly famous essay by Erich Auerbach.[1]   Of these lines in particular he had this to say:

    “Calogrenant tells King Arthur’s Round Table that, seven years earlier, he had ridden away alone in quest of adventure, armed as befits a knight, and he had come upon a road leading to the right, straight through a dense forest.  Here we stop and wonder.  To the right?  That is a strange indication of locality when, as in this case, it is used absolutely.  In terms of terrestrial geography it makes sense only when used relatively.  Hence it must have an ethical significance.  Apparently it is ‘the right way’ which Calogrenant discovered.  And that is confirmed immediately, for the road is arduous, as right ways are wont to be…”[2]

    And I am reminded of these words whenever I encounter directions, such as these, which Mycenologists routinely supply:

    Directions: from the main square of (Kato) Psari, take the road on the right leading into the hills.  At  a junction with a signpost, take the middle route and follow the road until you reach the church of Ayia Anna. Hence follow a dirt track roughly south until you reach the tholos.”[3]

    Emphasis is mine.  

    Truly this is Auerbach's 'right way'.  'Take the road on the right'.  Go 'into the hills',  Find a mysterious sign but take the via media.  Proceed an unspecified distance until, through a revelation, you find a church named for the mother of the Virgin.  These could be directions to the Holy Grail. 

    These directions are actually intended to lead us to two well-known tholos tombs that sit on a high and airy ridge above Kato Psari, a pretty little town which nestles under the foothills that range along the northern border of the Soulima Valley in Messenia in Greece.  Its position is here:  37.328005 N, 21.886706 E.   Because of its location all of its roads lead into the hills and we are sorely tried to select the correct road that is ‘on the right’.  

    After much puzzled searching I located the junction with a signpost and which has ‘a middle route’.  I show it in the following illustration.  Its lat/lon pair is 37.327493, 21.888423.   We are told to take the middle route but it actually doesn't matter which one you take; they all converge on the church of Ayia Anna.

    The three-fold way at the edge of Psari, Messenia, Greece.

    Even so I found it impossible to locate the church or the tholoi until I literally stumbled across them by scanning, one at a time, all the ridges above Psari.  The tholoi turn out to be located here:  37.333092, 21.892140.   In a previous blog entry I posted a picture of what they look like in Google Earth.  In the next picture I show the church of Ayia Anna as I was able to locate it in Google Street View.

    The church of Ayia Anna above the town of Kato Psari.

    Why do Mycenologists give anecdotal directions instead of simple and unambiguous lat/lon pairs?  Anecdotal directions become useless almost as soon as they are set down.  Roads are re-routed.  Hills are bull-dozed for olives.  Signs fall down.  ‘Large trees’ are cut down or struck by lightning.  Towns expand, contract or simply pick up sticks and move.[4]  Even compass bearing lines tend to wander aimlessly across the landscape and are no more likely to come togetherthan so many members of the Anarchists Club.

    Why does it have to be this way?

    Pausanias.  Although not, probably, a good likeness.
    In the second century of our era the renowned traveler Pausanias journeyed to most parts of Greece and left us descriptions of all the things that he was interested in: remarkable buildings and temples, sculptures, etc.  His directions are given anecdotally; we are constantly being told how far things are from each other in stadia and how long it takes to travel from point A to point B.  By mule, presumably.[5]

    In the middle of the fifteenth century Cyriac of Ancona, a prosperous businessman who seems to have known everyone, lived out his professional life in the form of business and political travel all over Greece and the Near East.  He has left us invaluable descriptions of ruins from the classical period and, above all, he recorded many inscriptions (which he seems to have loved) including a number that are now lost.  He travelled by boat, on foot, on horseback and, again, left us anecdotal descriptions about how far one place was from another using estimated distances and several different modes of antique transportation.[6]

    James G. Frazer

    James G. Frazer, perhaps the greatest English-language Classicist, did the same in the early years of the twentieth century.  In his monumental commentary on Pausanias he had occasion to revisit much of Greece and he left copious anecdotal accounts of his travels, in which he recorded the times to traverse from one town to the next  - apparently on horseback.[7]

    Pausanias had no way of determining latitude and longitude and it wouldn't have occurred to him to try.  Cyriac of Ancona lived in a time when latitude could have been determined more or less accurately but not longitude and, again, it probably wouldn't have occurred to him to try.  Frazer has less excuse; he lived in a time when both could be determined accurately and he would have had access to good maps but he could not, apparently, imagine a world in which latitude and longitude could replace simple directions on land.  Our modern scholars have no excuse at all for omitting this vital information.

    So.  It’s simple.  Archaeologists leave anecdotal accounts featuring ‘bends in the road’, ‘large trees’, and ‘young olive groves’ along with very dodgy travel times and travel distances because they’ve always supplied static land directions to sites.[8]   They do not suppose themselves to be scientists but inheritors of the great traditions of travel and adventure upon which archaeology was founded.  This – even though they are constantly complaining that they cannot find burial mounds or tholoi which were perfectly well-known and even excavated thirty or forty years ago but which have now disappeared as is testified to by Boyd and every other researcher in this area.[9]

    In what other area of endeavor do we find such mismanagement of the inventory?  As Oscar Wilde might have said: 'To lose one tholos is unfortunate; to lose two begins to look like carelessness.'

    Boyd identifies 'modern farming' as the real problem.  It's not so much tomb robbers who are, I admit, a continuing concern but the wholesale destruction of the environment consequent to industrial olive farming which I described in my last post.[10]  Unless we nail down specifically where these old tholoi and mound tombs and habitation sites are located we're not going to know when they're threatened by bulldozers and we won't be able to take any preventative action.  

    Recently, on the island of Hawaii, a consortium led by the University of Hawaii wanted to build a new telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea.  Local groups, activated by a kind of native conciousness and the stated goal of preserving ancient habitats, organized and successfully thwarted the University in its plans.  I don't agree with this particular result but we have to admit that these native groups were, at least, effective.  Organized effort of this kind with respect to Mycenaean  remains (and in more than just Messenia) is at least conceivable.  But it is inconceivable that you can preserve ancient sites if even specialists in the matter don't know exactly where they are.

    I cannot tell whether organized action to preserve Mycenaean sites is possible.  However it is time that Mycenology figured out exactly where its objects of study are actually located.  The time for anecdotal directions has passed.  I notice that even Michaela Zavadil, when describing the many mounds and tholoi around Koukounara (a very important investigative area for Mycenaean funeral practice), simply throws up her hands and repeats all the instructions for getting to various places from all the archaeologists she has consulted.[11]  In so doing she exposed, probably without intending it, a series of hilarious contradictions.  But even she does not do the simple and unambiguous thing.  She does not provide us with simple lat/lon pairs for the sites in question even though her dissertation was concluded in 2012.   

    Bear in mind that Google Earth can, at 37 degrees N latitude, distinguish between two positions which are as little as four inches apart.  And GPS receivers are ubiquitous.[12]  A sufficiently accurate device can probably be found in your camera.

    Armed with a lat/lon pair the student who wishes to visit these sites will know precisely where the goal is.  He or she is perfectly capable of planning what route to take in getting there no matter how many old-fashioned archaeologists – like grizzled old timers at some country store – want to load him or her down with capricious, contradictory, and out-dated route instructions.

    When equipped only with anecdotes the student quickly learns the truth of the old punchline which says: ‘You cain’t get there from here.’

    Next time I'm going to describe the beginnings of a solution.

    I have just received (12/30/15) a copy of Simpson [2014]. In it I find these words:

    "From now onward, it should be possible to record the coordinates of all (or almost all) of the sites by means of the Global Positioning System (GPS) by satellite."[13]  

    So far I have only been able to scan this work by Simpson; it is the definitive statement of a lifetime's work by, perhaps, our greatest living scholar of Mycenaean Messenia.  It is to be regretted that he was unable to include lat/lon pairs in his new gazetteer[14] and, by not doing so, he leaves us with the usual cloudy idea of exactly where many of these sites really are. (That phrase 'or almost all' speaks volumes.)  

    Dr. Simpson has taken much care with the beautiful  maps that grace this volume.  

    If only they were useful!   Of these maps he himself says:

    "The maps show only the approximate locations of the sites, and are themselves not entirely accurate.  Before Loy had completed a set of contour maps in 1966, it had not been possible to plot the positions of the sites definitively."[15]

    What does one say to this remarkable statement?  'It had not been possible' ??  Nonsense!  What could that possibly mean?  It sounds very much like Dr. Simpson is content to let the best be the enemy of the good.  Far better to have no knowledge at all rather than knowledge which is merely state of the art!

    And this:

     "Whenever possible, the locations of sites visited by UMME were indicated on the backs of the set of air photographs (taken by the Royal Hellenic Air Force in the 1950s), now located in the archives of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens."[16]

     Perhaps I would have an easier time locating some of these sites if I were to knock politely on the door of the ASCSA and ask to see the old air photos?  That's one way, I suppose, to find out what their Security is like.

    Mycenologists have to ask themselves a simple question.  'Is Mycenology a Science or is it an Arcanum?'

    I appreciate that Dr. Simpson's contributions to the field of Mycenology are of an extraordinary, almost superhuman, magnitude; one hopes however that his grad students are a little more technologically current.  Frankly no area of study can survive without being able to say precisely where its objects of study are located.

    In the meantime there is much that the determined scholar can do and I will begin to outline a new approach in the next post.  


    [1] Auerbach [2013], ‘The Knight Sets Forth’, 123 ff.

    [2] Ibid., 128-9.

    [3] The author, a good and learned Mycenologist, shall be nameless.

    [4] E.g., Soulinari is translated into Nea Soulinari, 2 1/2 km. distant.

    [5] For example, in his 'Corinth', xi.3: "The road to Titane is sixty stades long, and too narrow to be used by carriages drawn by a yoke. At a distance along it, in my opinion, of twenty stades, to the left on the other side of the Asopus, is a grove of holm oaks and a temple of the goddesses named by the Athenians 'The August'.."  I put 'The August' in single quotes, otherwise the translation is Jones [1918] 305.  Should we still be looking for that grove of holm oaks?   And note the distance 'twenty stades' which is simply guessed at; does that sound familiar?

    [6] As here, taken entirely at random, from Diary V (as arranged in Bodnar in Cyriac of Ancona [2003] pg. 321, par. 41), in which Cyriac visits the famous cave at the tip of the promontory of Tainaron: "And at the nearer hill of the same harbor, in a grove thick with slender holm oak saplings, at a remove of five stades from the shore, we found that huge cave from which, they say, the divine Hercules dragged Cerberus out of the lower world .."  There are those holm oaks again.

    [7] Here's a sample: In Frazer[1898] 301 he describes an itinerary from Heraea (Agios Ioannis) to Megalopolis.  Here is his account of the stretch between the modern Agios Ioannis (or Heraea/Irias, at 37.613395° N,21.864346° E) to Kakoureika (at 37.583979° N, 21.923355° E): 

    "We cross the beds of several streams that take their rise in the neighboring mountains, traverse a plateau planted with olives, and reach (in 38 minutes from Heraea) the village of Anaziri.  From this village the direct route to Karytaena runs south-eastward to the village of Kakouraika, distant about 1 1/4 hours from Anaziri."  

    It is six km. in a straight line from Agios Ioannis to Kakoureika.  I cannot find the towns of Anaziri or Karytaena.   At a minimum they have been renamed but, more likely, they no longer exist.  Given the travel times (about 19 minutes per straight-line kilometer over mostly smooth ground) as well as the date of publication (1898) I can only suppose that Frazer is either walking or on horseback.  So the times given are walking or riding-times but it's pointless to speculate.

    [8] McDonald and Simpson [1961] 235 in '32. Karatsadhes (Loutro)': "The site is .. in an olive grove with stony reddish alluvial soil."  Same directions simply repeated by Boyd in [1999] 311.  Simpson [1981] 129 in 'F118 Eva: Nekrotapheion': 'This site is on a very low spur, covered in olive trees, ..'
    Simpson [1981] in 'Platanos: Lambropoulou Piyi' on 117: 'On a slope about 800 m. east-southeast of Platanos is a very low mound.' Indeed.  

    Electrical wires and pylons often mark the spot.  In Boyd [1999] 405 we read that the famous tholos of Koryfasion is located 'at an intersection of three telegraph lines..'  In Simpson [1966] 123 we learn that an important EH settlement near classical Thouria is 'shown to have been the field marked by the electricity pylon which lies immediately to the south-west of the southern end of the Ellinika ridge..' There are a dozen pylons on this ridge; selecting the right one (assuming that they are in the same positions that they were fifty years ago) is a nice art.

    Directions can include bus-stops.  McDonald and Simpson [1961] 225, '3. Sodhiotissa (Ayios Ioannis)'.  'On the ridge ca. 150 m. north of the tiny monastery (one nun) of Panayia Sodhiotissa, which is built into a cliff immediately north of the Pyrgos-Katakolo highway at a point 800 m. west of the bus stop for Ayios Ioannis village.'  Nice detail about the nun.  I could (I think) find the nunnery but not the bus stop.

    And this in McDonald and Simpson [1961] 245, '69. Tourkokivouro (Mesopotamos)'.: 'A mound ca. 250 m. north of the Kalamata-Pylos highway .. 200 m. east of the bus-stop called Ekklisoula.'

    'Ekklisoula' is the name of the bus stop at 36.981246 N, 21.820816 E and I picture it below:

    The Bus Stop at Ekklisoula

    [9] A few examples among very many:  Boyd [1999] 808 "Moreover, the inability of later workers (myself included) to  relocate mounds on the basis of McDonald & Hope Simpson's sketch maps or other instructions has made their many identifications seem doubtful.  The action of modern farming has undoubtedly contributed to the loss of these sites."  This would be a disturbing criticism of the UMME enterprise, if true.  But it's unlikely to be true.  McDonald and Hope Simpson simply failed to leave adequate descriptions of where exactly these mounds were located.  When Dr. Boyd says 'myself included' he is alluding to the fact that he was one of the participants in PRAP's ground surveys.  Also Boyd [1999] 313, "The small tholos tomb Polla Dhendhra is not on Mr Koukis' land. From the large tree, walking approximately in a line perpendicular to the Potami, it is about 100m-200m, located in the ground at a field edge, unmarked and difficult to locate".  Emphasis is mine. This repeats an unfortunate and all too common pattern of referring to actual landowners who are now, in most cases, long dead and forgotten.

      With reference to the destroyed(?) tholos of Kopanaki (approximately here: 37.290518, 21.826234):  '(Valmin) reports a much destroyed tholos on the south slope but we could see no sign of it.' [McDonald and Simpson [1961] 233, '24. Stylari (Kopanaki)'].  Also: "N. Valmin fand 1927 südöstlich von Ano Kopanaki eine zerstörte Tholos am Südhang eines Hügels, auf dessen Kuppe sich das Dorf Stylari befindet. Das Grab konnte später nicht mehr nachgewiesen werden." from Zavadil [2012] 264, 'Ano Kopanaki/Stylari (Ep. Triphylias)'.

    And this: 'Note: In BullLund (1925/26) 89 Valmin mentions a probable tholos mound in an area called Feretze.  This periphereia is ca. 4 km. east of Kopanaki and 1 km. west of Dorion village on both sides of the highway.  We could not locate the mound and local inhabitants do not know it.' from McDonald and Simpson [1961] 233, '24. Stylari (Kopanaki)'.  These directions: 'four km. east of Kopanaki and 1 km west of Dorion village' are themselves absurd.  The two villages are only three km. distant from each other.

    [10] McDonald and Simpson have this to say with respect to the six funeral mounds at Kaldamou (Levki)  "All are being rapidly eroded by cultivation."  McDonald and Simpson [1961] 239, '43. Kaldamou (Levki)'.  And here: "Der NNW-Teil des Geländes wurde im Jahr 2000 für die Anlage eines Olivenhaines eingeebnet."  "The NNW part of the site was levelled in the year 2000 for an olive grove."  In Zavadil [2012] 485 referring to Marinatos' important Myceanean building discoveries at Katarrachaki, near Koukounara.

    Destruction through cultivation is not always inadvertent.  As Zangger, et al [1997] 571 say "After their first encounter with archaeologists, some landowners, possible fearing future restrictions and perhaps expropriation, appear to have intentionally damaged sites on their fields by extensively plowing the soft marl.  Such deliberate destruction by landowners, who balance the rise in land value with the increased cost caused by excavation on private property, has been observed elsewhere in Greece."

    [11] Zavadil [2013] 454-5.  Dr. Zavadil goes on to quote McDonald and Simpson [1969] 150, '65. Katarachi (Koukounara)' on this very topic:

    "The general area discussed by Professor Marinatos under Koukounara is so large and was so heavily occupied in prehistoric times that a brief and clear exposition  of  the  topography  is  very  difficult.  A  carefully  prepared  topographic map of the area with all archaeological discoveries clearly marked is  now  needed.“  

    She continues (454):

    "Diese  Sätze,  vor  etwa  dreißig  Jahren  von  W.  A.  McDonald und R. Hope Simpson in bezug auf einen der interessantesten Fundorte Messeniens formuliert,  haben bis zum heutigen Datum leider nichts von ihrer Berechtigung verloren. Es ist noch immer kein Plan der auf dem Hochplateau zwischen Pylos und dem messenischen Golf in der Umgebung des Dorfes Koukounara gelegenen bronzezeitlichen Relikte erschienen, obwohl die hier erforschten Grabanlagen mit Recht zu den wichtigsten Bauten dieser Gattung in Messenien, wenn nicht sogar der gesamten Peloponnes gezählt werden dürfen."

    [12] For a survey see this.

    [13] Simpson [2014] 19.

    [14] Ibid., '2.  Mycenaean Sites in Messenia', 15-43.

    [15] Simpson [2014] 19.

    [16] Idem.


    Auerbach [2013]: Auerbach, Erich.  Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature.  Translated by Willard Trask and with an introduction by Edward W. Said.  Princeton University Press, 2013.  Mimesiswas first published in Berne, Switzerland in 1946.

    Boyd [1999]: Boyd, Michael.  Middle Helladic and early Mycenaean Mortuary customs in the southern and western Peloponnese. Ph.D. Dissertation for The University of Edinburgh in 2 volumes.  Online here.

    Cyriac of Ancona [2003]: Cyriac of Ancona: Later Travels.  Edited and translated by Edward D. Bodnar with Clive Foss. I Tatti Library, x.  Harvard University Press.  2003

    Frazer [1898]: Frazer, James G., editor and translator, Pausanias's Description of Greece.  Volume IV.  MacMillan and Co., Ltd., New York. 1898.  Online here.

    Jones [1918]: PausaniasDescription of Greece, Volume I: Books 1-2 (Attica and Corinth). Translated by W. H. S. JonesLoeb Classical Library 93. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1918.

    McDonald and Simpson [1961]:  McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson,  “Prehistoric Habitation in Southwestern Peloponnese”,  American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 65, No. 3  (Jul., 1961), pp. 221-260.  Online here.

    McDonald and Simpson [1969]: McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson, "Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968",  American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177.  Online here.

    Simpson [1966]: Simpson, Richard Hope.  "The Seven Cities Offered by Agamemnon to Achilles", The Annual of the British School at Athens. Vol. 61 (1966), pp. 113-131

    Simpson [2014]: Simpson, Richard Hope.  Mycenaean Messenia and the Kingdom of Pylos, INSTAP.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  USA. 2014.  978-1931534758

    Zangger et al. [1997]:  Zangger, Eberhard, Michael E. Timpson, Sergei B. Yazvenko, Falko Kuhnke, and Jost Knauss.  “The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project: Part II: Landscape Evolution and Site Preservation”. Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 66 (4). 549–641. Online here.

    Zavadil [2012]: Zavadil, Michaela, Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien.  Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.   Denkschriften, 450. Band.  Mykenische Studien, Band 33.  Wien, 2012.  Online here.

    From Stone to Screen

    The Art of Replication: Fighting to Save Syria’s Heritage

    The Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan currently houses over seventy-nine thousand Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland. Over the past year, it has also become home to a few small-scale models of Syrian heritage sites and monuments that have been demolished by ISIS. Community leader Ahmad Hariri, from the…

    Continue reading

    The post The Art of Replication: Fighting to Save Syria’s Heritage appeared first on From Stone to Screen.

    The Signal: Digital Preservation

    Keeping Our Tools Sharp: Approaching the Annual Review of the Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement

    The following post is by Ted Westervelt, head of acquisitions and cataloging for U.S. Serials in the Arts, Humanities & Sciences section at the Library of Congress.

    Since first launching its Recommended Formats Statement (then called Recommended Format Specifications in 2014), the Library of Congress has committed to treating it as an important part of its digital preservation strategy. As such, it follows two of the key tenets of digital preservation: collaboration and iteration.

    The preservation of and provision of long-term access to the full range of digital objects, especially in these relatively early years, are not ones that can be carried out comprehensively or successfully by a single group or institution. This is an effort that must be carried out collaboratively and cooperatively, with an appreciation of the works of others and an imperative to share the work one is carrying out with others as well. Likewise, the great possibility inherent in the digital world for growth, change and development in the creation and dissemination of digital objects requires us to be responsive to those changes. As the objects we wish to preserve and make accessible change and adapt, the plans, practices and rules we create must change and adapt along with them. In short, everything we do in digital preservation must be if not in a constant state of flux, then sufficiently flexible to changes and ideas from across the field.

    The Library of Congress’ Recommended Formats Statement has always had this dual charge in mind. The Statement was developed and implemented to help provide Library of Congress staff with guidance in building the collection. It identifies the technical characteristics of both physical and digital works that best encourage preservation and long-term access. This is not aimed at the migration or transformation of content after acquisition by an archiving institution; but looks more towards informing decisions about the creation or acquisition of that content, where such guidance can be of great value.

    By Udo Grimberg / Deutsch: Hund der in den Computer schaut [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

    By Udo Grimberg / Deutsch: Hund der in den Computer schaut [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

    It is crucial that anyone involved with digital works is aware of the full scope of the digital life cycle. For acquiring or creating digital objects that one cannot see throughout their life cycle is an expenditure of resources with diminished returns (and potentially none, if the object is lost as a result). It is worth remembering that ‘a puppy is not just for Christmas’ and neither is a digital object just for the first moment you hold it. The information that the Statement provides Library staff enables them to make more informed decisions, especially in the acquisition and creation of digital works, which will enhance the likelihood that the content can be managed throughout its lifecycle.

    The basic information that the Statement provides also has value for other institutions or organizations. Since the Statement is the result of the collective effort at the Library of Congress of experts in all aspects of the creation and distribution of digital objects, the information and hierarchies provided can be useful for one’s own digital preservation planning no matter in what part of the business cycle one is – as a creator, publisher, vendor, archivist, etc.

    In order to meet these needs – to share our knowledge and build on it and to ensure that it is in sync with the current state of digital creation and preservation, the Library has actively engaged with its colleagues who are also stakeholders in the digital world. Communication of this work to others who might be interested has been a consistent effort since it first went public almost two years ago. Through conferences, articles, blog posts and listserv messages, the Library has worked to ensure that the information in the Statement gets to anyone who might find it useful in their own work with preservation and long-term access. Nor has this effort fallen on fallow ground. We are pleased to see steady usage of the Recommended Formats Statement website and downloading of the Statement itself every day and every month. Moreover, the dissemination of this work is now being undertaken by others as well as by the Library itself.

    This past autumn, the Digital Preservation Coalition included the Statement in its Digital Preservation Handbook. Around the same time, the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services recommended the Statement as a resource in one of its e-forums. Beyond the undeniable pleasure of this sort of validation of our efforts from such esteemed colleagues, the sharing of our work by others helps increase greatly the exposure of the Statement and the chances that the information in it will get to people who could use that information or who might have valuable input on how to improve it. Both outcomes are crucial to our digital preservation efforts.

    In complement to the general dissemination of the Statement for the use of others, the Library determined that an annual review of the Statement would ensure that it remains current and useful, to the Library itself and to other stakeholders. Beyond giving its in-house experts the chance to review their work in light of any new knowledge or experience, the Library actively solicits feedback from across the digital preservation sphere, in order to make the best possible revised and updated version. As malleable as the universe of digital creation can be, we do not expect whole-scale change across the board; but we do know that some things will change, even if just our understanding of them and so reviewing our work is very much worth the effort.

    The Library has already completed one round of this review and revision, to very good effect. The feedback from across the spectrum enabled us to create a far more user-friendly document and one with important revisions, most notably to our still image file formats and to our audio works metadata. This revision did not create an entirely new document; but it did create a better one.

    By ANKDADA007 / Human_pyramid_by_little_kids [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

    By ANKDADA007 / Human_pyramid_by_little_kids [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

    Now we are looking at our second annual revision of the Recommended Formats Statement. Between March and June, our teams of experts here at the Library will be reviewing their sections of the Statement and making whatever changes they feel will improve it in the new edition due out at the end of June. And in this, we very much would like and need the input of our external stakeholders, from some of whom we have heard already. Beyond our general belief that the Statement has some value for anyone involved in digital preservation, given the documented use and dissemination of the Statement, we know that there are those out there who agree with us. So, please share your thoughts, comments, feedback and input with us, either through this post, the contacts page or by e-mailing me (thwe at loc dot gov.)  The work we are attempting to do with the Recommended Formats Statement will have all the more value in this great collaborative effort of digital preservation the more guidance we get from you in developing and improving it.

    ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

    Yigael Yadin’s Last Night in America: ASOR and the Biblical Archaeology Movement

    By Eric M. Meyers In light of the sharp decline in enrollments in the humanities in colleges and universities in the United States and abroad, I thought it might be helpful to share a story about Yigael Yadin’s last day in America, the day before he died. Yadin in the eyes of most people who […]

    The post Yigael Yadin’s Last Night in America: ASOR and the Biblical Archaeology Movement appeared first on The ASOR Blog.

    Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

    Structuring the Fields

         It is time to show the fields we are using in our database on Baptismal Records for Slave Societies (BARDSS). In previous posts, we pointed out that this database was possible thanks to a project hosted at Vanderbilt University and led by professor Jane Landers. Landers and her team have been travelling to different places in the Americas to digitized endangered parish records. They have uploaded to the web these records for public and free access. Although we are using only baptismal records from Africans and African descendants, the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slaves Societies contain burial, marriage, and many other type of civil records. All these documents have a particularity that makes them a perfect candidate for a digital database project. Regarding period of time, place of origin or language, these records are quite homogeneous. The explanation lies in the centralized nature of the Catholic church. Thus, we are not facing the disparity of information that has faced other similar digital projects. 

    This is an example of a baptismal record from the parish of “San Carlos” in Matanzas, Cuba.

    baptismal record

    These are some of the fields from this particular baptismal record:

    1.  Date of baptism: Sunday, May 30, 1830
    2.  Priest: D. Manuel Francisco Garcia
    3. Age Category: “Parbulo” (Infant)
    4. Date of birth: May 2nd, 1830
    5. Filiation: legitimate (born from married parents)
    6. Father’s name: Francisco (it is also Criollo)
    7. Mother’s name: Maria de la O
    8. Nation: Ganga (African denomination used in Cuba)
    9. Legal status: Slave
    10. Owner: D. Francisco Hernandez Fiallo
    11. Name of the baptized individual: Felipe
    12. Godmother’s name: Ceferina
    13. Godmother’s African “nation”: Mina            

    Baptismal records are fairly homogeneous regarding period of time or location:

    Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 1.04.18 PM

    Finally, after some discussions and after comparing different baptismal records from diverse regions and period of time, we created this relational diagram. The following diagram show all the fields from BARDSS and the hierarchical relation among them:




    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Homo Naledi: uno scanner portatile per documentare lo scavo

    In collaborazione con l'Associazione Americana di Antropologia Fisica la società Artec 3D ha recentemente annunciato un interessante caso applicativo dello scanner palmare Artec Eva utilizzato per la documentazione dello scavo dell'antico Homo Naledi, nuova specie umana scoperta nel 2015 in Sudafrica, vicino a Johannesburg, in un totale di 1500 frammenti nella Grotta chiamata Rising Star.

    Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

    An Outrage Summit

    This past week, I probably made a mistake in agreeing to help coordinate the North Dakota University System’s Arts and Humanities Summit here on the beautiful campus of the University of North Dakota. Of course, the funds might suddenly evaporate as the state and the NDUS braces for budget cuts, but that’s not something I can worry about now.

    In any event, I am not one to let reality interfere with a bad plan. 

    As I started to think about how organize or coordinate the work of arts and humanities faculty across the state, I tried to steer my thinking away from some of the more fruitful recent conversations: The Bakken Oil Boom, Entrepreneurial Humanities, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and THEMAS (Technology, Humanities, Engineering, Math, Arts, and Science), or whatever. Instead, I drifted increasingly toward looming budget cut, the role of the administration in shared governance, and the upcoming national, state, and local elections. One thing connected these phenomena in my head: outrage.

    Screenshot 2 10 16 7 52 AM

    What if we hosted an Arts and Humanities Summit and made it forum for outrage. That’s right: the entire event would constitute an airing of grievances. From studies of campus space, to rampant agism, sexism, administrative incompetence, bureaucratic overreaches, paper work, assessment, compliance, and the erosion of shared governance, faculty in the Arts and Humanities across the state have plenty of reasons to be aggrieved. 

    What is more interesting is the use of outrage (and outright rage) to express their frustrations with the system. I’d like to use the summit to explore outrage itself as a form of academic, political, and public discourse. I expect that a focus on (out)rage would attract the usual smattering of thoughtful and critical essays that consider the role of outrage as a challenge to prevailing hyper-rational neoliberal discourse, or as a sincere expression of exasperation or even the shifting definition of outrage as a way to marginalize the inconvenient, incompatible, or otherwise unyielding voices. Outrage provides a way to push back against the stifling conformity of professional life and culture. Social media, The Donald, and the “town hall meeting” all provide public venues (yeah, I consider The Donald a venue) for projecting outrage into the crystalline fractures of the public sphere. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include some critical engagement with the Jeremiad as a genre that lends often lends itself to outrage in the public sphere. (It also happens that one of the authors of the best recent treatment of Jeremiads in American politics can bring outrage as well as anyone I’ve ever met!).  

    The great thing about this summit is that we could arrange not just for calm, detached academic talk about outrage, but also to offer a forum for outrage. I’m sure every campus in the system has its own expert practitioners of the art of outrage. What if we got some of the most deeply outraged faculty in the system to come to UND and to BE OUTRAGED. Like the famous dozens of early rap music, we could arrange a series of lecterns and invite each of the arts and humanities faculty to drop some genuine, earnest, sincere, outrage on us.

    Maybe it’s delusional, but I can even imaging recruiting a couple outrage artists from the community. Terry Bjerke, a local candidate for mayor, brings a particular brand of outrage to the fore. Al Carlson, an outspoken and outraged legislature, can drop outrage like few others in the state. Again, it’s not so much what they say, it’s how the say it. A summit dedicated to outrage would probe the tender intersection of sincerity, conviction, and public display to critique key aspects of contemporary political and professional theatre. Plus, it would be amazing to bring together the most deeply aggrieved and outraged members of the community and celebrate their intensity, conviction, and art.  

    File this one in the idea box.

    Corinthian Matters

    The Long Lent

    The liturgical season of Lent begins today in the western Christian churches. If you don’t know what this is, Lent is a penitential season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving that culminates in the celebration of Easter / Pascha. As far as liturgical seasons go, it’s a pretty old one that had emerged clearly by the council of Nicaea in AD 325, and perhaps earlier in some form. Today it is universally celebrated by different Christian denominations (even the anabaptist and brethren in Christ college where I teach usually serves up an Ash Wednesday service to students). Sometimes eastern and western calendars are closely aligned so that Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians are celebrating the season (nearly) simultaneously. This year, these traditions have conspired against each other to produce about the greatest timespan possible between the celebration of western Easter (March 27) and Orthodox Pascha (May 1). This means that between eastern and western calendars, Christians will be in a lenten penitential season for nearly three months this year. And that’s a whole lot of Lent.

    This liturgical season intersects in a number of ways with Corinthian studies.  The New Testament letters of 1 and WinterSkyCentralPA2 Corinthians, with all their discussion of repentance, salvation, the memorial of the last supper, and resurrection, among others, have made good material for for the lenten cycle of scripture readings (even this morning, at an Ash Wednesday mass, I heard 2 Corinthians 5.20-6.2). And the Corinthian saint Leonidas and his companions were martyred and are celebrated during Pascha/Easter (Sneak peak for next year: Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants will be celebrating Easter / Pascha the same day and on April 16, the feast day of Leonidas and companions. I’m working now with some Latin students at Messiah to prepare a little translation of the relevant passages about those saints from the Acta Sanctorum)

    So it only seems appropriate that I re-launch my weekly series on resources and books for reading and understanding 1 and 2 Corinthians, early Christian communities, and religion in Roman Corinth. Yes, I planned to do this two years ago but wasn’t on my game. In fact, I’m pretty bad at delivering any series consistently. But I have a little more time this semester, and will aim to deliver a Wednesday series.

    dh+lib: where the digital humanities and librarianship meet

    “Deeply Embedded Subject Librarians”: An Interview with Brandon Locke and Kristen Mapes

    Brandon Locke is the Director of The Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research (LEADR) at Michigan State University. Kristen Mapes serves as the Digital Humanities Specialist for the College of Arts and Letters at MSU. This interview was conducted by Bobby Smiley, the Digital Scholarship and American History Librarian at Michigan State.

    Bobby: While you’re both trained as librarians, you don’t work in a library. How did you arrive where you are?

    Kristen: My order of operations was first libraries, then digital humanities. I was in graduate school for medieval studies at Fordham, and after a considering a Ph.D., I decided to go to library school at Rutgers. Because of my medieval studies background and experience with rare books and manuscripts, I initially wanted to focus on special collections. But in my exploration of on-going special collections work, I began to think more about digital humanities’ ability to bring something new not only to special collections work, but academic librarianship generally. This prompted me to take Chris Sula’s DH course in the library school at Pratt, which helped cement that interest in digital humanities and librarianship.

    Brandon: I was an undergrad history major at Nebraska where there’s a lot of digital humanities work being done. While I was there, they offered an undergraduate digital history class, but I ran as far away from it as I could. I had already decided I’d never need to know how to program or make a website. But as I was approaching graduate school, I realized that the field was moving towards digital work, and recognized how digital humanities opened new ways to look at a larger variety of sources, and new ways of interpreting those sources, and a platform for sharing and communicating scholarship. I decided to stay at Nebraska and focus on digital history for my graduate work. As I was working on my masters, I realized I was more interested in working on digital projects, information infrastructure, and collaborative work, so I went to library school at Illinois, and continued to build on some of the digital work I started at Nebraska.

    Bobby: Even though you’re not stationed in a library, I think of you—and I know you think of yourselves—as DH librarians. How does your library background influence the work you do?

    Brandon: Most obviously, I wear cardigans everyday. More tangibly, I can see it come through in my emphasis on information literacy and digital literacy in the classroom. As Director of LEADR (The Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research), I focus on facilitating and assisting student (especially undergraduate) research, largely by partnering with faculty in History, Anthropology, and other departments, to add digital components to their classes. For students who are History or Anthropology majors, or want to work at cultural heritage sites, developing digital projects has immediate use and value. However, for the other students from across campus, the values can be less clear. I focus on making students comfortable with digital technology, helping them develop multimodal websites, short video or documentaries, or using mapping text analysis to develop their research questions. Research and writing in digital forms are essential skills for the future, so I tend to focus on these types of base skills.

    Kristen: Working at the college level, I help develop undergraduate and graduate curriculum, teach the intro DH course, build the DH study abroad program, serve as the advisor for the digital humanities undergraduate minor and graduate certificate, in addition to teaching workshops and consulting on digital projects and digital curriculum development. In effect, I act as the DH liaison for the eight departments in College of Arts and Letters (CAL), and in that sense, I think of myself as a deeply embedded subject librarian—reaching out to a number of departments is something subject librarians are very familiar with. Besides collaborating with Brandon and the Libraries (on workshops, symposia, and other DH programming), in many ways, my work is informed by outreach librarianship, and my efforts to build DH capacity across the university.

    Bobby: Given the nature of your work then, who has most influenced your thinking?

    Brandon & Kristen (in unison): Miriam Posner!

    Kristen: In addition to being key in helping us think through issues around outreach and programming, [she’s influential] especially for her generous and thoughtful work on digital humanities curriculum development, and important because of the centrality of curricular development and support in both our work.

    And in my own research on social media and medieval studies scholars on Twitter, Bonnie Stewart is another touchstone person for me. Also, Melissa Terras is awesome, and influential on my thinking about DH.

    Brandon: In addition to Miriam, Jentery Sayers, Shaun Macpherson, Nina Belojevic at the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria, as well as Bethany Nowviskie, especially for the work she did at the Scholar’s Lab at UVA.

    Bobby: And what projects you’re involved in excite you the most?

    Kristen: I’m currently working with Devin Higgins, one of the Digital Library Programmers [at MSU], and we’re taking a little bit older digital humanities project, The Roman de la Rose Digital Library, and looking at ways of mapping and creating a tool for exploring information about the manuscripts in an interactive way, both for their content and codicology. I’m excited by bringing digital humanities into conversation with my own medieval studies background, and, with this project, giving back to both communities.

    Brandon: I’m really interested in bringing material culture to the classroom, and I’m drawing up two new courses. First is a History Harvest course that will encourage students to engage with historical objects and the relationships people have with them. Second, I’m working on a course that focuses on museum exhibits and 3D models of objects, really modeled on Bill Turkel’s work at University of Western Ontario and the amazing stuff coming out of the UVic Maker Lab. For both of these courses, I’ve been working with the MSU Museum.

    Bobby: In all your activity, how does the library fit in your work?

    Kristen: Besides all the collaboration we’ve done with the library on programming and teaching workshops, in my introduction to digital humanities course, I regularly take my students to the library for class. We had a class session with Ryan Edge, the Media and Digital Preservation Librarian, on metadata and preservation. Also, Thomas Padilla was the class’s embedded librarian. In addition to teaching a session on network analysis, he came to the class several times to assist students with digital projects, and acted as the on-call help for their final projects. Basically, the library is my go-to answer for everything in my course.

    Brandon: I turn to the library for you in teaching informational literacy, Thomas Padilla for teaching about data cleaning and preparation, and both of you as well as Devin Higgins for helping students with digital projects.

    Bobby: Candidly, I feel like the Library gives me, Thomas, and Devin a lot of flexibility and freedom to pursue DH possibilities in our work, and I know the same applies to you both. Besides front office support, I’m wondering if there’s anything about being at Michigan State that helps facilitate the work you’re doing?

    Kristen: Well, there was the organic nature of our hires; we’re in the unique position of having basically arrived as a cohort. But I also think one of the main reasons we feel so supported is we were not asked or expected to build digital humanities from the ground up. That there was the confluence of interests and activities around DH at the university level over the past several years helps explain why the library hired two digital humanities [now scholarship] librarians—with Brandon and myself hired less than a year later. And that DH support came not from the provost or university level administrators, but organically from departments and individuals, which reflects the state of digital humanities writ-large at MSU. Not being the only DH person in your college or department and knowing  you have faculty advocates across the university who can provide additional support for new projects and initiatives has allowed for my and our collective success after a relatively short period of time. Especially, the groundwork done by WIDE (Writing, Information, and Digital Experience) and MATRIX (The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences), in particular on grants, helped foster that interest in DH well before we arrived.

    Brandon: MATRIX was really big for me—they’ve been incredibly supportive of my work and the development of LEADR. I think, more importantly, MATRIX was critical in developing an awareness and appreciation for this kind of work on campus, so we didn’t arrive having to tell people about digital humanities for the first time. Many faculty members in my departments have already done DH projects or used DH pedagogical techniques in the classroom. MATRIX has also helped to establish MSU as a known quantity in the DH world—people come here knowing that there is appreciation in departments and support across campus for this type of work work.

    Kristen: And because, in our case, that community wasn’t a single centralized unit that did all DH on campus, Brandon, you, Thomas, Devin, and I have been able to work across all units together, and that collaboration has been supported at all levels.

    Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

    Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

    New Morbid Terminology: Phossy Jaw, The Occupational Disease of Matchstick Makers

    There are a range of diseases, traumas and skeletal markers that can occur regularly with certain types of occupations. One historic example is called Tailor’s Notches. These are small indentations […]

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

    From my diary

    I’ve got a translation of another legend of St Nicholas of Myra ready for release as soon as I can find some time.  This is a translation of De Stratelatis.  I’ve also commissioned a translation of the Encomium of Methodius ad Theodorum – it will be interesting to see if we have more luck this time.

    I’ve also been looking at the Latin material about St Nicholas, ascribed to John the Deacon.  It looks quite doubtful that there is any decent text available of this.  I’ve also ordered a volume of material about the St Nicholas legends, which should arrive in a couple of weeks, and, I hope, will give me some more orientation on the material.

    I’m pretty busy in my offline life at the moment, so I haven’t had the time to do anything on any of my projects.  The flak should stop flying in a couple of weeks, tho.  An old friend has invited me to an Italy trip in late April, but it probably won’t be convenient to do more than fly out for a weekend.

    Legends of St Nicholas of Myra: the miracle of the tax (Praxis de tributo, recension 1) now online in English

    Considering how important Santa Claus is to our culture, it has always seemed remarkable to me that the medieval sources for whatever stories we tell about him – or rather St Nicholas of Myra, his prototype – remained untranslated.  I’ve had a few translations made, and here is another.  This is a short medieval story about how St Nicholas got an unfair tax remitted.  David J. D. Miller kindly did the translation for us all.  This exists in four manuscripts, in two different versions.  This is the shorter first recension.

    • Nicholas_of_Myra_Praxis_De_Tributo_rec1_2015 (PDF)
    • Nicholas_of_Myra_Praxis_De_Tributo_rec1_2015 (Word .doc file)

    As usual this translation is public domain – do whatever you like with it.

    I have commissions out for two other short texts at the moment, so there will be more of these.

    UPDATE (10 Feb 2016): updated version with numbering.

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    Monuments of Mosul in Danger

    Monuments of Mosul in Danger
    The project Monuments of Mosul in Danger (Ohrožená architektura města Mosulu) aims to document and research Mosul monuments that have been destroyed by ISIS since June 2014 (see About the Project). As the first output of the project, we are releasing a list and interactive map of destroyed monuments created through analysis of satellite imagery. The list and map are interconnected with profile lists of individual monuments showing satellite images documenting the scope of the destruction. The map documents the situation as of the end of August 2015. We have failed to identify six of 38 destroyed structures (labeled as unknown structure). We would be grateful for any additional information that would help us to identify them. 

    Do not hesitate to contact us should we have made any mistakes in our identifications. Also, any supportive documentation related to the endangered Mosul architecture would be appreciated.

    February 09, 2016

    Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

    High resolution plates fron "La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak"

    High resolution plates fron "La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak"

    Michel JORDAN (dessins), Susanne BICKEL & Jean-Luc CHAPPAZ, avec des contributions de Faried ADROM et Éric RICHARD, La Porte d’Horemheb au Xe pylône de Karnak (CSÉG 13), Genève 2015.
    Entrepris sous le règne d’Amenhotep III et entièrement décoré sous celui d’Horemheb, le Xepylône de Karnak signalait l’entrée méridionale du grand temple d’Amon, tout en magnifiant l’accès au dromos conduisant vers les sanctuaires de Mout, Khonsou ou Kamoutef. La qualité et la finesse d’exécution des décors – non exempts d’irrégularités graphiques – en rehaussent la majesté et rendent toujours actuel le jugement de Champollion.
    Cet ouvrage, fruit de plusieurs missions des équipes du Fonds pour l’Égyptologie de Genève, situe le monument, resté inédit à ce jour, dans son contexte historique et topographique, puis analyse les principes architecturaux de son élévation. L’attention est ensuite portée sur la porte de granite, dont les scènes sont reproduites, reconstituées et commentées de différents points de vue (notamment religion ou histoire de l’art). L’avant-porte en grès et le socle du colosse sud-ouest, également restés inédits, constituent les deux derniers chapitres de l’étude.

    Planches épigraphiques:
    56 a
    56 b
    112 a
    112 b

    Online Guide to Evagrius Ponticus

    [First posted in AWOL 17 January 2012, updated 9 February 2016]

    Guide to Evagrius Ponticus
    edited by Joel Kalvesmaki

    Evagrius Ponticus (b. 345 in Ibora; d. 399 in Egypt), a monastic theologian, was one of the most talented intellects of the fourth century. Circulating in elite ecclesiastical circles of Cappadocia and Asia Minor, he began his career under Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus, serving with the latter in Constantinople through a stormy tenure that culminated in the Second Ecumenical Council (381). Known then as a brilliant heresiologist, Evagrius seemed destined for a successful ecclesiastical career. He chose a different course, and fled to Jerusalem, where he took vows in the monastic communities of Rufinus and Melania. From there he traveled to Egypt and lived in monasteries in Nitria and Kellia. In Egypt he wrote extensively in a variety of genres—letters, proverbs, brief sayings (chapters), and treatises—nearly all geared toward explaining and analyzing vice and virtue, demons and angels, psychological and psychosomatic phenomena—in sum, the life of the ascetic. His accounts are set, sometimes explicitly, oftentimes pensively, within a well-developed metaphysical system that responded to both classical philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism) and the theology of some of the most accomplished Christian intellectuals (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus).
    Although well connected in his own time, Evagrius fell into disrepute in the sixth century, when his writings, along with those of Origen and Didymus the Blind, were associated with a theological strain of Origenism condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). The more speculative of Evagrius's writings fell out of circulation in the Byzantine Greek manuscript tradition. Those works survive in a number of other languages, principally Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, and Arabic—linguistic traditions whose reception of Origen and Evagrius were not as controversial. His writings deeply influenced many theologians and monastic writers, including Sts. John Cassian, "Dionysius the Areopagite," Maximus Confessor, John Climacus, Isaac of Nineveh, and Simeon the New Theologian. The Armenian Orthodox Church commemorates him, as did some Syriac-speaking Orthodox churches, but his condemnation is maintained by the Eastern Orthodox Church and, with important caveats (e.g., his recent inclusion in Butler's Lives of the Saints), the Roman Catholic Church.
    This Guide provides definitive lists of Evagrius's works, of editions and translations of those works, and of studies related to his life and thought. It includes an inventory of key ancient sources that refer to Evagrius and a display of imagery from the ancient world. Updated quarterly, the Guide will gradually introduce a manuscript checklist, images of manuscripts, transcriptions of those manuscripts, and open source critical editions of Evagrius's writings.

    Jason Heppler (History in the Digital)

    My Open History Notebook

    <p>I’ve long advocated <a href="http://www.jasonheppler.org/2008/11/08/open-source-scholarship-and-why-history-should-be-open-source/">open history</a> as something we should pursue as historians. Along those ends, I’ve been inspired by <a href="http://wiki.wcaleb.rice.edu">Caleb McDaniel</a>, <a href="http://notebook.lincolnmullen.com">Lincoln Mullen</a>, and <a href="http://electricarchaeology.ca/2015/10/06/an-elegant-open-notebook/">Shawn Graham</a> and their use of open notebooks. Caleb, in particular, led me to try out <a href="http://gitit.net">Gitit</a>, a git-backed wiki platform written in Haskell and tightly integrated with my favorite command line tool, <a href="http://pandoc.org">pandoc</a>.</p>

    Michael E. Smith (Publishing Archaeology)

    I write a blog post. Students reply with a Facebook post. What is going on?

    I guess I just don't understand the new world of social media. My previous blog post was a critique of Rosemary Joyce's lecture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Then I see on Twitter that some anthropology graduate students have responded to my post, not by commenting directly on this blog, but in a Facebook post from the CUB Anthropology Department's Facebook page. Their post is mildly critical. I posted a brief comment on Facebook inviting them to reply directly on the blog (as a comment) to continue discussion. I say that I try to avoid using Facebook for professional purposes, and I am not anxious to start posting there about abstruse issues of social theory. But I haven't heard any more from the group of students.

    (( SLIGHT UPDATE, same day, 9:30 am: Here is a link to the facebook post: 
    https://www.facebook.com/CuBoulderAnthropology/?target_post=1247802748570251&ref=story_permalink.  And the likes are up to 34! ))

    ((Now, at noon, the likes are up to 39! I am really taking a killing here in Facebookland))

    Perhaps in the world of social media and academia, all venues are equivalent. A response on Facebook might be no different than a reply to a blog, or some other kind of internet posting. So maybe I should just go ahead and reply to their comments here in my blog. Maybe I should switch to my other blog, Wide Urban World, to spread things around even further.

    Or maybe I should just shut up. As a long-time blogger and senior scholar, I have a number of advantages over graduate students in terms of experience, power, and access. I am not anxious to play the heavy here. But then perhaps the students have an advantage over me. They are obviously more comfortable with Facebook, and they probably have other social media skills and experiences that I lack. So maybe I should shut up and admit defeat. After all, as of 8:00 AM today, there are NO comments on the blog post in question. The initial tweet from UCBoulder-Anthropology has 2 likes and 2 forwards, and my reply tweet has none. And the original Facebook post has 32 likes, including some prominent archaeologists and anthropologists. Wow, everyone is lining up against me.

    In the court of Facebook opinion, I seem to be the clear loser in this affair. Obviously the "new materialism theory" (which is NOT materialist!) is popular and I am just a cranky positivist who can't see the light. But is this a productive direction for scholarship? I have complained in this blog about the "facebookization of online scholarship." You can "like" something buy you can't "dislike" anything. Popularity and superficiality are what count. What are the quality control mechanisms in the court of social media opinion? Are there any?

    Well, this post is long enough. It doesn't really say anything about the substantive issues, mainly because I can't decide whether it is appropriate or useful to try to engage my critics in a dialogue, given the situation as described above. I guess I am still trying to figure out social media and its role in scholarship.

    Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Network Analysis)

    Tom’s Oxford mini-tour

    One of the awesome things about my job is that I get to travel around and talk to people about the stuff I love (read “bore people by ranting about a niche interest”). This week I am in Oxford and I will be giving two talks tomorrow (10 February 2016). So if you are in […]

    The Stoa Consortium

    Messages and Media (Postgraduates in Ancient History, March 19, Newcastle)

    Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History
    ‘Messages and Media’
    19th March 2016.
    Armstrong Building, Newcastle University.

    We are very pleased to announce that Professor Richard Clay, newly appointed Professor of Digital Humanities at Newcastle University, has agreed to present our keynote. As an art historian, Richard has a wealth of experience in digital humanities and research on the history of various media. He has made documentaries for the BBC, including ‘The French Revolution: Tearing up History’ and ‘The Brief History of Graffiti’. We thought his expertise would bring our discussion of ‘Messages and Media’ to full fruition.

    Further, registration for delegates is now open. Attendance is free, but we ask that you register your intent to attend so that we can gauge numbers for catering and conference materials. Tea/coffee and lunch will be provided for all delegates.

    In order to register, please fill out this form: https://ampah2016.wordpress.com/registration/. If you experience any difficulties or problems with the form, or cannot access or use it for whatever reason, simply e-mail us at ampah2016@ncl.ac.uk. Thank you.

    A programme will be circulated in due course.

    We look forward to welcoming you in Newcastle.

    Kind regards,

    Lauren Emslie and Christopher Mowat

    Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

    The Importance of Fields in Database Projects


           We discussed in previous posts about the importance of selecting representative fields when we are creating a database based on historical records. It is critical to go back again to this point due to the importance it has while designing a functional digital database. We all know that historical sources contain disparate universes of data. Historians, in general, extract from the documents what they need for they own research. This selectiveness inherently to the historiographical craft makes sources manageable for us. We simplify, mutilate, and make documents “legible” in order to answer our own questions. We ignore or overlook elements that we consider are not significative for our research. For instance, if we are working on different type of sources such as  inquisitorial and plantation records, and we are looking at religious practices of Africans in the Americas, we are going to privilege the testimonies of slaves on the legal trial or their ethnicities recorded in some plantation papers. Probably, we will overlook the sugarmills machinery because it is not significative to make our point. However, if we are creating a database of plantation records from Louisiana, and that database aims to be comprehensive, we probably would like to include as many fields as possible such as sugar mills machinery. For doing a historical digital database, it is crucial to think about it on the most broader possible way. A database is not just an individual enterprise tributing to our particular research. It is a repository for potential multiples types of historical inquiries.  

            However, like it is the case for a conventional monograph, we need a central theme for a database. It is essential that we are clear about what is our subject because the fields need to be connected among them around the main topic. For instance, slaves themselves are the main protagonists of a database on runaway slaves. In a relational diagram of fields, the slaves are at the center while owners, physical marks, date of capture, and “nation” are subfields tributing to the slave or main entity. Take now the example of the most successful digital project on the slave trade: the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (TSTSB). The main subject is the slave ship. Every field in the database is centered around those vessels transporting forced human cargoes from Africa to the Americas. Variables such as flags, date of departure, captain, owners, number of slaves or mutiny on board are instances related to a particular ship. The TSTDB resulted from the diverse type of documents located around the globe. These disparate records were written in different languages, with diverse purposes, over more than three centuries, and by disparate historical actors. Many of this documents had been used before by historians to write their classic monographs and some of these historians collaborated later to enlarge the TSTDB. Therefore, the question to ask is how was possible to translate such diverse historical sources into a single and coherent project without losing sight of comprehensiveness.

          First of all, the authors of the project are renowned specialists not only on the topic of the slave trade but also on quantitative studies. They simplified to standardize. I think this the key to create a manageable digital database when the universe of documents we are using is extremely heterogeneous. After a careful study, and based on their years of experience, the authors of the TSTDB determined those fields that were likely to show up on documents related to the Atlantic slave trade. For instance, documents usually mention information such as the ship name, the captain, number of captives, date of departure/arrival or nationality of the vessel. The fact that sometimes the name of the vessel is not mentioned does not make any difference about the importance of including that field. In the same way, that sometimes the color of the vessel is mentioned in some documents is not a reason to include that information as an individual field. Why? because the aesthetic of the ship is not something that appears regularly in the sources. As a consequence, that feature does not deserve a particular field. If we create a field for every detail from the documents in order to create a database, the result would be an oddly high number of empty fields. The database would not be functional.

    The other element we have to take into account is that we will deal during the process with software developers and their programming language. They need a clear project based on coherent and interrelated fields. Programmers in general, in particular, those accustomed to create databases based on contemporary data, do not understand completely our initial intention of putting together a database based on fragmentary data. Take the example of a programmer that have done digital platforms for credit card companies. He/she has been databasing customers. He/she is used to a coherent and complete set of data. Unlike the aforementioned case, historians have to deal usually with fragmentary data. Thus, programmers have to create relationships between fields that could be or not entirely populated. Second, It happens often that historians resist simplifying their information when it come to formulate their digital projects. This attitude is based on epistemological principles that make sense while writing monographs, but that are not completely functional while creating a digital database. This is not a matter of gathering all the data we think  are or could be significative information for potential research. We have to choose fields that regularly appears in the documents in order to standardize them which mean, make a functional digital database. Our solution for exceptional or not usual data is an empty box where we write complementary information that did not make it as a separate field because its lack of representativeness. Fortunately, we did not face that issue while creating BARDSS. Our database is based on an extremely coherent set of information regarding time and space. After all, baptismal records were from the beginning, intended to be a sort of legible and coherent collection of data on population. Next post we will show some documents and how we extracted the information from them and transformed into a relational diagram


    Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

    Event Roundup, Feb 9

    By Erika Owens

    Event Roundup, Feb 9

    The news nerd community will descend (ascend?) on Denver, Colorado next month.


    Know of any upcoming fellowship or conference proposal deadlines? Have an upcoming event? Let us know: source@mozillafoundation.org.

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    RESTAURO-MUSEI dal 6 all'8 aprile 2016 a Ferrara

    Dal 6 all’8 aprile 2016 a Ferrara si svolgerà la XXIII edizione di Restauro che da quest'anno prenderà il nome di Salone dell’Economia, della Conservazione, delle Tecnologie e della Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali.

    Diverse le novità dell'edizione 2016 che torna a collocarsi nel mese di aprile ed avrà la durata di tre giorni invece di quattro per permettere ai visitatori e agli espositori di ottimizzare i tempi ed i costi, nel consueto periodo ad esso dedicato, dopo lo slittamento a maggio della scorsa edizione, in concomitanza con l’inaugurazione di Expo Milano 2015. Un’edizione dunque ricca di innovazioni, non solo nei contenuti, che porteranno valore aggiunto alla manifestazione.

    Corinthian Matters

    A Companion to Latin Greece (Tsougarakis and Lock, eds)

    A Companion to Latin Greece, recently published by Brill, offers 11 essays that provide “an introduction to the study of Latin Greece and a sampler of the directions in which the field of research is moving.” Edited by Nickiphoros Tsougarakis and Peter Lock, the work surveys society, culture, and economy in Greece from the 12th to 14th century (with occasional forays beyonds). As the abstract / book description notes:

    LatinGreece“The conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the armies of the Fourth Crusade resulted in the foundation of several Latin political entities in the lands of Greece. The Companion to Latin Greece offers thematic overviews of the history of the mixed societies that emerged as a result of the conquest. With dedicated chapters on the art, literature, architecture, numismatics, economy, social and religious organisation and the crusading involvement of these Latin states, the volume offers an introduction to the study of Latin Greece and a sampler of the directions in which the field of research is moving.”

    Sharon Gerstel’s review of the work in Medieval Review does note the lack of substantial discussion and exploration of archaeological evidence from either excavations or surveys, but concludes positively that

    What this volume makes clear is the central importance of Latin Greece to the study of the Mediterranean and, indeed, to the study of late medieval and Early Modern Europe. The region’s enduring ties to both the West and Byzantium, its role in agricultural production and the exportation of vital commodities, its mixed population, and its multiple religious confessions, place Latin Greece at the center of current discourses about identity, networks, and globalism. Providing an impressive range of materials, this volume challenges the reader to think critically about local and regional transformations at a time of political uncertainty.

    For further information:

    Table of Contents

    Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

    Early Christian Cyprus: An Outline

    I was pretty pleased to be asked to co-author a chapter on Early Christian Cyprus for the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Archaeology. Since I’ll be co-authoring it with the incomparable (and the intensely busy) Jody Gordon, I offered to get things rolling by putting together an outline.

    The goal of our chapter is both to present a basic guide to Christian archaeology on Cyprus, as well as to put Early Christian archaeology on the island in the context of larger issues both in modern Cypriot political culture and the historiography of Roman, Late Antique, and Early Byzantine Cyprus.

    This is just a draft, and nothing is cast in stone, but I thought I would throw it out there to see what people think…

    The Archaeology of Early Christian Cyprus

    1. Early Christianity in a Cypriot Context (<1000)

      1. Pre-Archaeology of Cypriot Christianity

        1. Barnabas (late-6th c.)

        2. The Phaneromene

      2. Archaeological Context

        1. Megaw – typology

        2. Cypriot Archaeologists – often salvage and primarily focused on architecture.

        3. Recent Work: Kopetra, Polis, Maroni, Pyla-Koutsopetria.

      3. Contemporary Political Context

    2. Textual Christianity on Cyprus: Short and Sweet (<1000 words.)

      1. Acts of the Apostles

      2. Epiphanios

      3. Council of Ephesus (431)

      4. Hagiography

        1. Jerome, Vita Hilarionis (4th c.)

        2. Auxibios (5th? c.) (I don’t remember; but local).

        3. John the Almsgiver (Sophronios) and Tykhonas (6th c.)

    3. Christian Archaeology on Cyprus (<4000). This would be the nuts and bolts section of the essay. It would lay out the evidence for Christianity on the island and the basic archaeological problems (dating, excavation approaches, publishing, et c.).

      1. Basilicas (1200 words)

      2. Baptistries (800 words)

      3. Epigraphy (600 words)

      4. Objects

        1. Mosaics

        2. Lamps

        3. Fineware

        4. Seals?

    4. Contexts and Consequences (1200)

      1. Christianization

      2. Connectivity – trade, pilgrimage, and travel

      3. Settlement – towns, cities, capitals, and bishops.

    5. The End of Early Christian Cyprus (800)

      1. Plagues

      2. Wars

      3. Transformation

    Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

    Bando 2016 del Fondo della creatività per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di imprese nel settore delle attività culturali e creative

    Un milione e duecentomila euro per le imprese culturali e creative. Sono i fondi stanziati dalla Regione Lazio a sostegno e come contributo, a fondo perduto per la nascita e lo sviluppo di startup innovative, grazie al cofinanziamento dei costi di avvio e di un primo investimento dei singoli progetti. Il bando 2016 del Fondo della creatività per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di imprese nel settore delle attività culturali e creative è stato presentato l’8 febbraio nella sede dell’Auditorium dell’Ara Pacis dal presidente della Regione Lazio Nicola Zingaretti e dal ministro dei Beni e delle attività culturali Dario Franceschini accanto all’assessore alla Cultura e alle politiche giovanili della Regione Lazio Lidia Ravera.

    Da ICOM Italia una nuova offerta formativa per il settore museale

    ICOM Italia in collaborazione con Intesa Sanpaolo Formazione promuove un'offerta formativa rivolta al mondo culturale museale. Le attività formative, che si svolgeranno su varie città del territorio italiano, vedranno il coinvolgimento di esperti del settore e saranno caratterizzate da un approccio pratico e innovativo.

    Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

    Thomas Haigh and Mark Priestley Digital Dialogue

    Books and shows about the history of information technology have usually focused on great inventors and technical breakthroughs, from Charles Babbage and Alan Turing to Steve Jobs and the World Wide Web. Computer operations work has been written out of the story, but without it no computer would be useful. Information historians Thomas Haigh and Mark Priestley are writing it back in. This talk focused on ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer, based on research for their book ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer, published by MIT Press in January, 2016. They will explain that the women now celebrated as the “first computer programmers” were actually hired as computer operators and worked hands-on with the machine around the clock. Then they will look at business data processing work from the 1950s onward, exploring the growth of operations and facilities work during the mainframe era. Concluding comments will relate this historical material to the human work and physical infrastructure today vanishing from public view into the “cloud.”

    DigPal Blog

    &quot;Codices, Choices, Cameras, and Cataloguing: Digitising Manuscripts&quot;, Thursday 11th February 2016

    Date: Thursday 11th February, 6pm

    Sponsor: London Graduate Paleography Group

    Venue: Room S8.08, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS[1]

    "Codices, Choices, Cameras, and Cataloguing: Digitising Manuscripts"
    Dr Alison Hudson (Project Curator, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, British Library)

    (Tollemache Orosius, Add MS 47967, f. 62v)

    For details of future papers, visit the London Graduate Paleography Group website

    [1] To find S8.08, walk past the main reception desk and take the lift up to the seventh floor and then use the stairs to get to the eighth floor.