Electra Atlantis: Digital Approaches to Antiquity


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

This feed aggregator is part of the Planet Atlantides constellation. Its current content is available in multiple webfeed formats, including Atom, RSS/RDF and RSS 1.0. The subscription list is also available in OPML and as a FOAF Roll. All content is assumed to be the intellectual property of the originators unless they indicate otherwise.

July 31, 2014

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Ghosts Towns, Process, and Product on the World Wide Web

I had originally intended to write about the local humanities this morning, but I was distracted by an interesting little discussion on the internet. A local author, Troy Larson, took issues with a website produced for a class offered by Tom Isern, a historian at North Dakota State University. Tom had designed the class, as far as I can recall, to produce a catalogue of North Dakota “Ghost Towns”. Troy Larson is the local expert on North Dakota Ghost Towns and has published a couple of coffee table books on the subject and maintains a remarkable blog called Ghosts of North Dakota. By all means, go and buy his book and surf his blog. They’re both pretty cool things.

The website prepared for Tom’s class had a list of ghost towns on it with a series of links to Troy’s blog. From what I gathered, these links were designed to get students started on Tom’s larger ghost town project. In general, Troy has dedicated his blog to photographs with very short historical sketches of the towns with a bit of census information and some notes about local postal service. Most of this information is available in one way or another on the internet. In many cases former and even current residents of these towns make comments on Troy’s blog. In short, Troy’s blog is one of the best points of departure for research on small places in North Dakota. 

The kerfuffle began when Tom’s class page pointed to Troy’s blog as a point of departure for student research on ghost towns. Apparently, the goal of Tom’s class was to produce a book or part of a book on abandoned places in North Dakota. From what I understand that goal has not been achieved yet so there is no final product. The internet, as this blog is ample evidence for, provides access to process, however, and Troy objected to the process that Tom’s class was using to start their research. And then this all hit Facebook and got pretty exciting for a couple of days. 

This is an interesting problem on two levels. First, it demonstrates two fundamentally different ways of viewing information made available on the web. Troy naturally feels protective of the work he has invested into an impressive resource that he generously made available on the web. I can’t really say for sure what Tom’s motives are, but I suspect they were similar to mine when I created an index to my History 101 class that consisted entirely of links to Wikipedia. If a resource is available on the web, I feel pretty comfortable deploying it for whatever schemes or goals I have in mind. (Tom is a sometime reader of this blog and is known to have a wry smile about many things in life, so maybe he’ll post a comment).  

In fact, much of my academic career has been dedicated to creating resources that I hope other people will do more with than I have. For example, I included a catalogue of over 200 churches in my dissertation, and it is available for free for download via Ohio State’s library catalogue. I fully (and optimistically) expected someone to use my catalogue to produce their own studies of Early Christian basilicas in Greece. In fact, I think the enduring value to my work is probably not the analysis (which will always represent strains of thinking grounded in a particular time and place), but the catalogue, which will hopefully represent a resource for the next generation of scholars. David Pettegrew and I have made available a photographic catalogue of houses at the site of Lakka Skoutara in the southeastern Corinthia and our data from our work at Pyla-Koutsopetria on Cyprus.

From what I understand, and please Troy correct me here, is that Troy objects to his project being used as a sources of data for another similar project. Since the internet provides a kind of transparency of process, he was able to see how another group was using his “data” and object prior to the appearance of a final product that may or may not compete with his work. 

Much of the debate on Facebook centered around matters of etiquette. Troy was particularly put out that Tom did not ask for permission to use his content as a point of departure for his class. I’ve had a few scholars ask for permission to use my dissertation catalogue, but this is hardly necessary.

Perhaps a better point of comparison is that I ask people who read and cite my working papers to ask permission by including in bold across every page: “Do Not Cite Without Author’s Permission.” This is largely because most working papers get updated regularly and a more current copy of a paper might exist or the paper gets published and a more stable citation exists for the same content. I suppose Troy could ask people who want to use his content or link to his page to ask permission, but I am not sure that this would do anything but limit the reach and audience of his work.  

The debate is still simmering on Facebook as I write this post and with any luck Troy and Tom will comment here to clarify their positions. What interests me the most is seeing how the relative transparency of the internet has created new social expectations. I think back to my largely pre-internet graduate school days where certain resources like A.H.M. Jones’ Later Roman Empire (1964) or well-acronymed Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium served as guides for many issues in the Late Antique world. Neither Jones nor Khazdan could know, of course, if we were using their work and its hard to avoid the idea that many recent books and encyclopedias on these topics used the exhaustive efforts of Jones and Khazdan as a guide. I wonder whether Troy would have felt different had Tom used a paper syllabus and assigned copies of Troy’s books as a guide for his class? Would Troy have ever even known?

I also wonder whether the relatively small and tight nit community of scholars interested in North Dakota also played a part in how this particular controversy took place? It seems like Troy was particularly offended that Tom didn’t ask or contact him before linking liberally to his blog. The courtesies, much like waving on a lonely rural road in North Dakota, are the kind of thing that happens regularly in small communities where people know one another and both Tom and Troy live in Fargo. I wonder whether Troy would have felt the same way if Tom was a professor at, say, the University of Texas or University of Queensland in Australia?

Finally, it is interesting that some of the rhetoric (and I’ll ask Troy to clarify this, if he thinks I’m mischaracterizing him in any way) is grounded in the difference in how academics and non-academics see resources made available on the web. As we academics explore small, privately produced collections  on the web (many of which are curated by antiquarians like Troy), we will have to think more carefully about how we use these resources both to respect the significant investment of time and energy that they involved and to transfer their value effectively to an academic context.

I’m reluctant to see either Troy or Tom in the wrong here, but this little controversy (by the standards of the internet) reminds us how far we are from understanding how this media works even after in the 25th year of the World Wide Web Era. 

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Guess the Manuscript XIV

As always, thanks are due to those of you who play along with every installment of our game Guess the Manuscript. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find things that will stump you brilliant people, but we have a few lined up over the coming weeks that we hope will...

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Proposta di partenariato per patrimonio culturale europeo

regione-sardegna-logoL’Ufficio di Bruxelles della Regione Sardegna segnala la richiesta di partenariato con scadenza manifestazione di interesse il prossimo 30 settembre. Proponente: Il “Marble and Natural Stone Technology Center” della regione della Murcia (Spagna).

The Stoa Consortium

Suda On Line milestone reached

The Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography affectionately known as SOL and one of Ross Scaife’s (et al) host of innovative projects has now reached the amazing milestone of 100% translation coverage.

A translation of the last of the Suda’s 31000+ entries was submitted to the database on July 21, 2014 and vetted the next day. This milestone is very gratifying, but the work of the project is far from over. As mentioned above, one of the founding principles of the project is that the process of improving and annotating our translations will go on indefinitely. Much important work remains to be done. We are also constantly thinking of ways to improve SOL’s infrastructure and to add new tools and features. If you are interested in helping us with the continuing betterment of SOL, please read about how you can register as an editor and/or contact the managing editors. (http://www.stoa.org/sol/history.shtml)

Although never involved in this project myself, I often use SOL as an example and case study in my teaching. With much discussion nowadays about so-called ‘crowdsourcing’ and ‘community-sourcing’ this is surely the forerunner.

July 30, 2014

Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

The Great SRCCON Brain Dump

By Erin Kissane

The Great SRCCON Brain Dump

SRCCON, the first-ever OpenNews conference, wrapped up last Friday night at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. As Quartz’s Nikhil Sonnad notes in his wrap-up post, the problem with even the most energetic and inspiring conference is that the motivation found often fades when everyone returns to the daily hustle and sprint.

Like Sonnad, we’re confident that the news-code community that showed up in force at SRCCON has the stamina and sustained interest to maintain the momentum that built up in sessions and around the coffee-hacking stations, and we want to help with that as much as possible.

We also want to scoop up as much of the energy and intensity and brain-sharing from SRCCON as we can and pour it out into the wider world that couldn’t fit into the physical conference itself. To that end, we brought on three wonderful stenographers from White Coat Captioning to do live transcription of three sessions duriforng each time slot during the conference, and just pushed those transcripts to GitHub so that attendees (and close readers) can submit corrections and changes. We'll also be publishing a series of Source write-ups from specific sessions, beginning with a few from our own Kio Stark going up this week.

Share Your Work

Rather than collecting emailed links and publishing them in round-ups here, we're using an open Etherpad as an information exchange for SRCCON attendees and kindred spirits. If you’re writing about things you learned at, thought about, or shared at SRCCON, please add your links to the Etherpad to help translate the conference’s ephemeral, hyper-caffeinated energy into a lasting record and resource for the run-up to SRCCON 2015, and beyond.

The Stoa Consortium

Job: XML db developer for EpiDoc project

Exciting job opportunity for someone with experience in XML databases and EpiDoc projects (part-time, fixed-term, at Oxford but remote working an option):

Part-time XML Research Database Developer
Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles, Oxford
Grade 7: £29,837 – £36,661 p.a. (pro rata)


The Faculty of Classics seeks to appoint a part-time XML Research Database Developer. This is fixed-term for 12 months. We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a strong interest in Digital Humanities and classical text-editing to build an XML Database backed website for publication, analysis, and editing of EpiDoc TEI P5 XML documents for the I.Sicily project (0.4 FTE) and for the Ptolemaic Egypt project (0.1 FTE).
*We are happy to consider applications from those who would wish to work remotely.*

The postholder will design and implement a native XML Database application for the online publication, analysis, and editing of EpiDoc XML based on open source components; create a testing mechanism for the technical infrastructure for resilient deployment (and redeployment from backup) of the website; develop and maintain the project’s technical infrastructure including XML Database installation and basic Linux server systems administration; and work closely with the IT Consultant and project PI in strategically designing and developing the infrastructure to ensure both reliable behaviour and potential for future expansion of the project.

The successful candidate will have relevant experience of higher education research (preferably in Classics); demonstrable experience of native XML database development; significant experience with multiple web development languages (e.g. XSLT, XQuery, PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, Python, etc.); and experience in maintaining software deployed on Linux servers.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. You will be required to upload a CV and supporting statement as part of your online application and supply details of two referees who must be asked to send their references directly to the email address below by the closing date.

Only applications received before 12.00 noon on 18 August 2014 can be considered.
Contact Person: Mrs Brooke Martin-Garbutt
Vacancy ID: 114327
Contact Phone: 01865 288372
Closing Date: 18-Aug-2014
Contact Email: recruitment@classics.ox.ac.uk

Only applications received before 12.00 noon on 18 August 2014 can be considered.


Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Archaeology and Craft in the 21st Century

It feels very odd to say that a conversation on Twitter spurred me to think a bit more about archaeology as craft. Yesterday a group of archaeologists, mainly in the U.K., and seemingly spurred by Colleen Morgan who began a discussion on the decline of the craft of excavation spurred in part by a rereading of C. Tilley’s well-known article on archaeology as theater. Tilley speaks out against the growing (in 1989) fixation with gathering information in archaeology that privileges excavation (particularly salvage excavations) and manifests itself in the dreadfully scientific site report. The published reports in excavation tend to reduce the complexity of excavations and conform to what Tilley sees as a kind of “strident professionalism” that limits access to meaningful readings of the past. Nowhere is this more evident, at least for Tilley, than in the practice of excavation focused solely on a research question articulated by an archaeologist. Instead, Tilley suggests that archaeologists should entertain the possibility of less scientific excavation to open the process to the voices and hands of the community as a way to generate a truly multi-vocal articulation of the past. Here’s a link to Sarah May’s take on the article.

Tilley’s argument is short, dense, and not entirely convincing, at least in the 21st century. He does, however, identify some of the key problems with scientific excavation characteristic of disciplinary archaeology. The disciplinary tendency to expect (or at least to present) linear progress from data collection to final publication embeds professional archaeological knowledge within a tradition of industrial production that is one with the basic structure of the modern American university. This is the point of departure for many of my observations on archaeology as craft.

At the same time that I was eavesdropping on this Twitter conversation and reacquainting myself with Tilley’s article, I was also reading a pre-publication draft of an article by Sara Perry. I won’t spoil the fun before its 2014 publication, but the title is “Crafting Knowledge with (Digital) Visual Media in Archaeology.” Set aside Collen Morgan’s work, it has reminded me that there are compelling efforts to bridge the gap between digital tools and craft practice. (My efforts were NOT compelling in any way.)

Anyway, these conversations have spurred me to make three observation.

1. Slow. As with everything on this blog, I can’t help but make this conversation about my own work (although Shawn Graham who brought me into the Twitter conversation indulged me as well). My interest in Slow Archaeology has less to do with the pace of archaeological work (either excavation or survey) and more to do with creating an alternative to the kind of method-driven, industrial practices that have emerged as a component of disciplinary archaeology. If methodology promotes a transparent and – as much as possible – linear relationship between field procedures, analysis, and interpretation, then Slow Archaeology advocation complicating this process. Tilley offers one way to complicate the mechanical (if not mechanistic), method driven disciplinary archaeology by making room for practitioners to think about archaeological work outside of atomistic data recovery guided by hypothesis testing. 

Survey archaeology is particularly suitable to this kind of practice because it is largely non-destructive. Walking across a landscape without a notebook or a camera might seem like an effete indulgence of 21st century Western intellectuals or even a lingering expression of colonial dominance (and these critiques are consistent with views of the Slow movement more generally). On the other hand, this practice would promote – even just for a time – a less-structured engagement with the archaeological landscape.

2. Embodied Knowledge. Sara Perry’s article reminded me to read Pamela Smith’s The Body of the Artisan (Chicago 2004). It has been on my “to read” list for about three years, but I think that I need to move toward a more sophisticated understanding of the role the body plays in knowledge production. I was particularly interested this summer in the posture of our team leaders and field walkers. Team leaders consistently presented hunched shoulders over a form on the clipboard and field walkers carry an inclined head toward the ground scanning a narrow swath of the surface to either side of the path.


To me, this posture makes clear the shift away from viewing the landscape as a unified space and toward a view of the archaeological universe that privileges distinct bits of data, recorded diligently, and the projected on computer generated maps for analysis. Over the course of our field season on the Western Argolid Regional Project, I encouraged team leaders and students to tilt their heads up from time to time to take in the larger landscape, but the pressures of covering as much ground as possible and documenting the presence of individual sherds on the surface of the ground.

We can contrast that with, for example, the posture that archaeologists have when illustrating a feature. In the photo below, we can see how our two archaeologists are literally part of the object they are illustrating (an Ottoman bridge). Their posture and position (although not necessary when they’re smiling for the camera!) reflects a different engagement with the archaeological object.



3. Craft and Archaeology in the 21st Century. All of this thinking about craft and archaeology (and a small, but compelling body of recent scholarship) has me thinking that I should run another series of guest blog posts on the topic. That our conversations have begun in Twitter is perfect for this kind of digitally mediated conversation. My growing experience moving text from the blog to more traditional paginated medium (see two soon to appear books based on the Punk Archaeology blog (and conference) and the series of posts on 3D Modeling Mediterranean Archaeology) is itself a manifestation of craft practice and becoming familiar with the tools and technologies required to move documents through the process of publication. 

So, here’s a draft proposal:

Archaeologists have become increasingly interested in the intersection between the growing number of new digital tools, methodologies, and field procedures, and the longstanding traditions of archaeological expertise and practice. This interest reflects both optimism for a more highly visible, transparent, and democratic archaeology, but also a concern for the skills and knowledge that will be lost as archaeology fully embraces its place as a (post)industrial discipline. This conversation is not distinct to archaeology, of course, with scholars across the humanities and social sciences reflecting on the potential of “craft” as a meaningful and familiar way to articulate what we may be losing.

Who would be interested in contributing to this kind of forum? I volunteer my blog to host it and The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota to push out a quick publication. 

Paul Dilley (Hieroi Logoi)

The Roman Cult of Mithras by Roger Pearse


This site, part of Roger Pearse’s Tertullian.org, serves as both an introduction to the history and iconography of Mithraism suitable for undergraduate instruction and an extensive collection of primary sources useful for original research. In particular, all references to the cult in classical literature have been assembled, when possible in English translation. Even more impressively, the “Catalogue of Monuments and Images,” based on Maarten Vermaseran’s 2 volume work Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithraicae (The Hague, 1956), provides images when available of the diverse material sources for Mithraism, from paintings to architectural plans (some of the photographs are by Pearse). This is supplemented by a list of recent discoveries and sometimes their associated images, including the London Mithraeum uncovered in 2013. Although there is no search functionality, when one knows what to look for, or just feels like browsing, this is an exceptionally useful and convenient site. There is also a fascinating section on Mithras items (in some cases their identity is uncertain) for sale on eBay and elsewhere.


The Signal: Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation 2014: It’s a Thing

“Digital preservation makes headlines now, seemingly routinely. And the work performed by the community gathered here is the bedrock underlying such high profile endeavors.” – Matt Kirschenbaum

The registration table at Digital Preservation 2014. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

The registration table at Digital Preservation 2014. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

The annual Digital Preservation meeting, held each summer in Washington, DC, brings together experts in academia, government and the private and non-profit sectors to celebrate key work and share the latest developments, guidelines, best practices and standards in digital preservation.

Digital Preservation 2014, held July 22-24,  marked the 13th major meeting hosted by NDIIPP in support of the broad community of digital preservation practitioners (NDIIPP held two meetings a year from 2005-2007), and it was certainly the largest, if not the best. Starting with the first combined NDIIPP/National Digital Stewardship Alliance meeting in 2011, the annual meeting has rapidly evolved to welcome an ever-expanding group of practitioners, ranging from students to policy-makers to computer scientists to academic researchers. Over 300 people attended this year’s meeting.

“People don’t need drills; they need holes,” stated NDSA Coordinating Committee chairman Micah Altman, the Director of Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries,  in an analogy to digital preservation in his opening talk. As he went on to explain, no one needs digital preservation for its own sake, but it’s essential to support the rule of law, a cumulative evidence base, national heritage, a strategic information reserve, and to communicate to future generations. It’s these challenges that face the current generation of digital stewardship practitioners, many of which are addressed in the 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship, which Altman previewed during his talk (and which will appear later this fall).

A breakout session at Digital Preservation 2014. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

A breakout session at Digital Preservation 2014. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

One of those challenges is the preservation of the software record, which was eloquently illuminated by Matt Kirschenbaum, the Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, during his stellar talk, “Software, It’s a Thing.” Kirschenbaum ranged widely across computer history, art, archeology and pop culture with a number of essential insights. One of the more piquant was his sorting of software into different categories of “things” (software as asset, package, shrinkwrap, notation/score, object, craft, epigraphy, clickwrap, hardware, social media, background, paper trail, service, big data), each of which with its own characteristics. As Kirschenbaum eloquently noted, software is many different “things,” and we’ll need to adjust our future approaches to preservation accordingly.

Associate Professor at the New School Shannon Mattern took yet another refreshing approach, discussing the aesthetics of creative destruction and the challenges of preserving ephemeral digital art. As she noted, “by pushing certain protocols to their extreme, or highlighting snafus and ‘limit cases’ these artists’ work often brings into stark relief the conventions of preservation practice, and poses potential creative new directions for that work.”

Stephen Abrams, Martin Klein, Jimmy Lin and Michael Nelson during the "Web Archiving" panel. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

Stephen Abrams, Martin Klein, Jimmy Lin and Michael Nelson during the “Web Archiving” panel. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

These three presentations on the morning of the first day provided a thoughtful intellectual substrate upon which a huge variety of digital preservation tools, services, practices and approaches were elaborated over the following days. As befits a meeting that convenes disparate organizations and interests, collaboration and community were big topics of discussion.

A Tuesday afternoon panel on “Community Approaches to Digital Stewardship” brought together a quartet of practitioners who are working collaboratively to advance digital preservation practice across a range of organizations and structures, including small institutions (the POWRR project); data stewards (the Research Data Alliance); academia (the Academic Preservation Trust); and institutional consortiums (the Five College Consortium).

Later, on the second day, a well-received panel on the “Future of Web Archiving” displayed a number of clever collaborative approaches to capturing the digital materials from the web, including updates on the Memento project and Warcbase, an open-source platform for managing web archives.

CurateCamp: Digital Culture. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

CurateCamp: Digital Culture. Photo credit: Erin Engle.

In between there were plenary sessions on stewarding space and research data, and over three dozen lightning talks, posters and breakout sessions covering everything from digital repositories for museum collections to a Brazilian digital preservation network to the debut of a new digital preservation questions and answers tool. Additionally, a CurateCamp unconference on the topic of “Digital Culture” was held on a third day at Catholic University, thanks to the support of the CUA Department of Library and Information Science.

The main meeting closed with a thought-provoking presentation from artist and digital conservator Dragan Espenschied. Espenschied utilized emulation and other novel tools to demonstrate some of the challenges related to presenting works authentically, in particular works from the early web and those dependent on a range of web services. Espenschied, also the Digital Conservator at Rhizome, has an ongoing project, One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age, that explores the material captured in the Geocities special collection. Associated with that project is a Tumblr he created that automatically generates a new screenshot from the Geocities archive collection every 20 minutes.

Web history, data stewardship, digital repositories; for digital preservation practitioners it was nerd heaven. Digital preservation 2014, it’s a thing. Now on to 2015!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Opinions des anciens philosophes - Opinions of ancient philosophers

Opinions des anciens philosophes - Opinions of ancient philosophers
Cette collection de témoignages vise à rassembler au sein d’une base de données informatique le texte des sources relatives aux philosophes dits présocratiques ou préplatoniciens.

Dans un premier temps, la collecte des témoignages ne sera cependant systématique que pour les philosophes Milésiens (Thalès, Anaximandre, Anaximène) et Eléates (Xénophane, Parménide, Zénon, Mélissos). Cette limitation pratique tient au caractère de « prototype » de cette base de données, qui reste en voie d’élaboration tant pour ce qui concerne les entrées de textes que les formes de leur indexation. Nous la publions seulement à titre de proposition, soumise à la critique.

Une autre partie de ce projet consistant à réunir les principaux textes anciens relevant de la doxographie systématique (qu’il s’agisse d’œuvres complètes, ou d’extraits), des philosophes n’appartenant pas à la période dite présocratique trouvent également droit de cité dans cette base, bien qu’il ne soit aucunement question pour le moment de chercher à réunir exhaustivement les sources les concernant...

This collection of testimonies aims at collecting in a database the text of the sources related to the so-called presocratic philosophers.

This collection of testimonies has been at first limited to Milesian (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes) and Eleatic philosophers (Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno, Melissus). This limitation was only a practical one. This web site, and the database attached to it, is only to be considered as a prototype of what an exhaustive collection of testimonies related to presocratic philosophers should look like. The work has not to be considered as a finished one : indexations, at many levels, have not been completed, texts are still lacking, etc.

Any remark or critical comment will be appreciated...




A propos

Open Access Journal: Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science

[First posted in AWOL 15 October 2009. Most recently updated 30 July 2014]

Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science
Aestimatio provides critical, timely assessments of books published in the history of what was called science from antiquity up to the early modern period in cultures ranging from Spain to India, and from Africa to northern Europe. The aim is to allow reviewers the opportunity to engage critically both the results of research in the history of science and how these results are obtained.

Radio-Past: Radiography of the past

Radio-Past: Radiography of the past
The RADIO-PAST Project

The project, which was launched April 1st 2009, will last 48 months and aims at developing so-called “open laboratories for research and experimentation”, where all expertises convey, analysis, and technical activities are performed, experimental techniques and new data processing tested, and formation activities are held. The place chosen for the principal “open laboratory” is the archaeological site of Ammaia in Portugal. Here, the Coordinator Institution (University of Evora) pilots an archaeo-topographical project named “Cidade de Ammaia”, centred around a deserted Roman town. This research is linked to several reference projects, mainly on Roman urban sites in Italy, where several of the partners are active since many years.

The website

This website wants to take Radio-Past online, by offering up-to-date and elaborated information on the aims of the project, the research techniques applied, the partners involved, and the results gained. Using the navigation area above, it is possible to address these specific project topics. Please, feel also free to comment on this Radio-Past project, as your input can be of great value to all the researchers currently involved. As frequently as possible, this site will be updated with more texts, and downloadable maps and pictures.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage, quarto Workshop COSCH

cosch-logoDal 15 al 17 settembre 2014 presso l’Istituto di Matematica dell’Accademia Serba delle Scienze e delle Arti e delle Facoltà di Scienze Matematiche a Belgrado si terrà il 4th Working Group Meeting and Workshop della COST Action TD1201 “Colour & Space in Cultural Heritage (COSCH)”.

Una mostra virtuale racconta il mito di Eracle

sulle-rome-eracleLa mostra digitale "Eracle nell'immaginario etrusco" è stata ideata a margine del progetto "Sulle orme di Eracle", che si svolge dal 9 maggio al 9 novembre, con la cura della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Etruria Meridionale in collaborazione con la Soprintendenza per il Polo Museale Romano e la Fondazione "Claudio Faina". L'iniziativa, realizzata in cooperazione con il progetto AthenaPlus, utilizza i contenuti della mostra reale, immagini e testi, adattati alla fruizione per il web, ed è anche arricchita di risorse video e audio realizzate appositamente.

July 29, 2014

Dickinson College Commentaries

Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop 2014 Comments


002Participants in the 2014 Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop (left to right): Christine Kahl, Will Darden, Peter Rook, Catherine Zackey, Faye Peel, Wells Hansen, Ashley Leonard, Scott Paterson, Paul Perrot, Kaori Miller, Jennifer Larson, Hugh McElroy, Janet Brooks, John Landis, Will Harvard, Daniel Cummings, Andrea Millius, Jacqueline Lopata, Bernie Gygax, and Laurie Duncan.

003We met for the week of July 13, 2014, and read selections from Lucretius, led by Wells Hansen and Chris Francese. Two new elements were a daily happy hour, with drinks and light refreshments in front of East College from 4:00-5:00; and the optional session to work on the Dickinson College Commentaries project in the afternoons from 2:00-4:00, helping harvest notes for the projected multimedia edition of the Aeneid. Here are some of the comments from participants:

Thank you! For the wonderful workshop this year. Of course–I enjoyed the reading this year–very interesting selection. I enjoyed reading and socializing with my colleagues. I think the commentary and the daily happy hour provided a great venue to get to know people better.

I very much enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other Latin teachers. Good times.

I enjoyed the camaraderie . . . the laughter . . . the intellectual stimulus.

I enjoyed the pace and friendly collegiality

I had a lovely time–favorite workshop yet.

The readings were fantastic! I enjoyed preparing the text every day and the discussions in class. Having the afternoons free was great, too–it allowed me to prep and recharge so I didn’t get too tired out.

I enjoyed spending time with a diverse group of teachers and Latin aficionados. Getting a chance to read one text in depth with knowledgeable instructors and colleagues. Just generally hanging out with Latin people and making jokes about the Dative.




Sander Goldberg on the new Virgil Encyclopedia

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review has just published a fine and very positive review of the new three-volume Virgil Encyclopedia edited by Richard Thomas and Jan Ziolkowski. After praising it and describing its emphases in comparison with its Italian predecessor, the Enciclopedia Virgiliana, the reviewer, Sander Goldberg of UCLA, makes what has become something of a standard plea in reviews of such print reference works that they could be better done on line. But he makes it in a characteristically eloquent way:

Students in particular have already found an inviting and increasingly popular alternative, though the VE‘s editors are not kind to it: ‘a printed encyclopedia of this sort is also a world apart from the web. It offers material that does not have to be unearthed by sorting through a dung-heap in which pearls of truth are buried amid mistakes, exaggerations, and misunderstandings. The volumes have been vetted and edited for accuracy and clarity’ (lxx). I share their dedication to vetting and editing. Virgil may have had to search for pearls in a dung-heap, but his modern readers should certainly be spared that experience. Yet the editors invoke what is, or ought to be, a false dichotomy: an encyclopedia of this sort is a world apart from the web largely because no effort has been made to unite the accuracy and clarity of the former with the flexibility and accessibility of the latter. It is clearly not (or not yet) in Wiley-Blackwell’s interest to do so, but it is most certainly in our interest to have it done, and at some point the editors and contributors to projects like this one are going to have to demand that their labor, their expertise, and their sheer love of the enterprise be given a more progressive format. Their own dedication to the field, so richly displayed in these volumes, deserves nothing less.

Well said, Prof. Goldberg. He also points out that the current print publishing model militates against the detailed exploration of language:

Nuances of Latin vocabulary are not as easily grasped as what even a Google search will quickly supply regarding “Accius” and “Alcuin”, while a philological question that goes unanswered is all too likely in time to become a question that goes unasked. Other technical matters are not so fully ignored, but can be significantly compressed: details may then be difficult to locate and extract. WhereEV foregrounded such matters as ablativo assoluto, accusativi plurali in –is, eīs ed es, and accusativo alla grecaVE relegates them to entries on “syntax” and “morphology”, with other, briefer treatments in “Grecism” and “Hellenism, linguistic”. These are, I hasten to add, very good and useful entries, but the compressed attention to linguistic form and structure is again indicative of a shift away from the tools of close reading and the basic philological information that modern readers increasingly require to read Virgil in Latin with a depth of understanding that the editors may too readily be taking for granted in their audience.

These are problems that DCC is committed to tackling and solving to the extent that we can. In the coming weeks we will publish a database of Vergilian vocabulary, based on the superb work of Henry Frieze, with comprehensive, accurate word frequency information for the Aeneid supplied by LASLA. This tool will be part of a larger planned multimedia edition that will have as much linguistic and stylistic help as we can pack into it for readers who want to dig in to the Latin. More information about the overall plan is here and here. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to get involved. I know for certain we will have our copy of the Virgil Encyclopedia handy as it develops!

dh+lib: where the digital humanities and librarianship meet

RESOURCE: The Mewar Ramayana

A new digital edition of the Mewar Rāmāyaṇa has been published, in a transnational “digital reunification project” that brings together pieces of the manuscript held at the British Library; Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Mumbai); the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery (Vadodara); the Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute (Jodhpur); and a private collection in Mumbai.

The Rāmāyaṇa is “one of two ancient Sanskrit epics of India and is traditionally attributed to the authorship of the sage Vālmīki.” This particular edition, the Mewar Rāmāyaṇa, comes from seventeenth century Rajasthan, where it was commissioned by Maharana Jagat Singh, the ruler of the Rajput kingdom. The Mewar Rāmāyaṇa is notable for lavish detail given to the manuscript’s 450 paintings.

The post RESOURCE: The Mewar Ramayana appeared first on dh+lib.

RESOURCE: Digital Preservation 2014 Conference Wrap-Up

Mat Kelly (Old Dominion University) has written a thorough wrap-up of the Digital Preservation 2014 conference, held July 22-23 in Washington, D.C. Kelly’s post includes links to recordings of 25 of the talks given at DigiPres2014.

The conference organizers have also uploaded slides for all talks, which can be viewed by scrolling down to the schedule and clicking the “(PDF…)” link next to each time slot.

Finally, the keynote speakers have posted the text of their talks:

The post RESOURCE: Digital Preservation 2014 Conference Wrap-Up appeared first on dh+lib.

CFParticipation: Digital Humanities Forum 2014 and Digital Frontiers

Two conferences scheduled for this Fall have recently opened registration, with registration costs aimed at encouraging attendance by early career professionals and students.

Digital Humanities Forum 2014: Nodes & Networks in the Humanities: Geometries, Relationships, Processes
To be held September 12-13, 2014 in Lawrence, Kansas, including keynotes by Isabel Meirelles (Northeastern University), Steven Jones (Loyola University Chicago), and Scott Weingart (Indiana University) and Friday workshops.
Registration is free.

Digital Frontiers 2014
To be held September 18-19, 2014 (with a THATCamp on September 20) in Denton, Texas, including keynotes by Miriam Posner (UCLA) and Dorothea Salo (University of Wisconsin).
Tiered registration options include free admission for students, a $40-$125 sliding scale for non-students, and a $20 registration fee for THATCamp.

The post CFParticipation: Digital Humanities Forum 2014 and Digital Frontiers appeared first on dh+lib.

CFP: ALA-LITA Midwinter 2015 Workshops

LITA is accepting proposals for preconference workshops for the ALA Midwinter conference, to be held January 30 – February 3, 2015, in Chicago (the workshops will be held on January 30). Presenters do not need to be LITA members to apply. Proposals should include a 75-word description of the program, and are due August 4, 2014.

The post CFP: ALA-LITA Midwinter 2015 Workshops appeared first on dh+lib.

JOB: Services Manager, Digital Preservation Network

From the position announcement:

The national effort to build the Digital Preservation Network (DPN) continues to gain momentum as the organization, under the umbrella of Internet2, moves from development stage to a prototype pilot phase in 2014. Funded by a membership that includes 60 research universities and foundations, DPN’s objective is to preserve the academic and historical record by linking together existing repositories to form a sustainable, federated preservation network.

DPN is seeking an experienced individual to join our team building a national digital preservation system, to ensure future generations will have access to our digital cultural materials. Working as part of the DPN leadership team, the Services Manager will launch the production suite of DPN services and manage long-term relationships with DPN members and service providers. The DPN Services Manager will be a crucial position, ensuring DPN’s services align with and support the needs and expectations of members.

The post JOB: Services Manager, Digital Preservation Network appeared first on dh+lib.

JOB: Associate Director for the Digital Library, North Carolina State University

From the job announcement:

The Associate Director for the Digital Library provides vision and leadership for information technology; resource management and discovery; and digital projects and associated research and development. The position serves as administrator for three departments: Information Technology (23 FTE), Acquisitions & Discovery (24 FTE), and Digital Library Initiatives (11 FTE). The Digital Library Division designs, develops, manages, and maintains a flexible, reliable, and innovative technology environment that enables access to research collections and facilitates user-centered services, along with a robust computing and data storage infrastructure that supports the library as both repository and research platform, both physically and virtually.

This position collaborates with the university’s Office of Information Technology and with Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications, participates in the university’s collaborative IT governance structure, and builds relationships with other research and technology partners. S/he represents the NCSU Libraries in the Triangle Research Libraries Network, national forums, and international initiatives, and seeks opportunities for partnerships with university faculty and external organizations, including sponsored research. Current projects include leading the Global Open Knowledgebase (GOKb) initiative, a Mellon-funded, multi-institutional collaboration with partners from the United States and Europe to build and share an open dataset of electronic resources information to benefit the library community at large. As a member of the Libraries’ senior administrative team, the Associate Director participates in library planning, policy development, resource allocation, and personnel management. NCSU librarians are expected to be active professionally and to contribute to developments in the field.

The post JOB: Associate Director for the Digital Library, North Carolina State University appeared first on dh+lib.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO) and EAGLE News

Attic Inscriptions Online and EAGLE News:
Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO) and EAGLE are delighted to announce the launch, on Tuesday 29th July, of a package of new English translations, supporting papers and upgrades to AIO:
1. 153 new translations (by Stephen Lambert, P. J. Rhodes, Feyo Schuddeboom and Lina van’t Wout).
From the late-5th cent. BC:
(a) sacrificial calendar of Thorikos
(b) Athenian decree on the administration of the property of Kodros, Neleus and Basile (IG I84)
(c) accounts of payments from the treasury of Athena, 410-407? BC (IG I3 375 and 377, the “Choiseul marble” in the Louvre, Paris)
B. A selection of 27 important Athenian laws and decrees of 403-353 BC
C. A newly published inscription of ca. 340-325 BC honouring the historian of Attica, Phanodemos
D. The corpus of Athenian decrees of 229/8-198/7 BC, 121 in total, together with brief historical notes (IG II3 1, 1135-1255)
This brings the total number of translations on the site to 469.
2. Two new AIO Papers (4 and 5) and a revised version of AIO Paper no. 1. These discuss particular inscriptions, or groups of inscriptions, in greater detail:
S. D. Lambert, Notes on Inscriptions of the Marathonian Tetrapolis. AIO Papers 1.
S. D. Lambert, Inscribed Athenian Decrees of 229/8-198/7 BC (IG II3 1, 1135-1255). AIO Papers 4.
S. D. Lambert, Accounts of Payments from the Treasury of Athena in 410-407 ? BC (IG II3 375 and 377)
3. Improvements to translations and metadata already on the site
4. Upgrades, including:
(a) responsive design, which will facilitate use of the site with tablets and mobile phones and the addition of fuller notes to the translations
(b) XML and JSON outputs and API
(c) numerous other improvements to site design and functions.

Center for History and New Media

Art Historians, Rebuilding their Portfolios

RRCNHM hosted an enthusiastic group of 22 art historians, librarians, and museum professionals for “Rebuilding the Portfolio,” a digital art history institute sponsored by the Getty Foundation. The self-identified novice participants began the institute on July 8, 2014 nervous and worried about the workload, but emerged two weeks later as confident, digital ambassadors.

During the institute, nicknamed “bootcamp” by some of the participants, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon led the cohort through an intense course designed to introduce art historians to digital humanities scholarship, methods, and tools, while also directly connecting with their own work in art history. Readings and discussions were coupled with demonstrations and hands-on work. Megan Brett, Stephanie Grimes, Celeste Sharpe, and Spencer Roberts drew on their own digital work as graduate students in the history and art history program by leading demonstrations and supporting the participants in countless ways.

Rebuilding the Portfolio cohort, annotated in ThingLink by participant, Gina Tarver

Each participant registered a new web domain of their own; installed Zotero, WordPress, and Omeka; and learned to annotate, plot maps, tidy data, and visualize that data in different forms. Personal reflections of Rebuilding the Portfolio participants were aggregated and are available on the course site, with help of RRCHNM’s PressForward plugin.

We were impressed by the ways that each participant began to re-think their research projects and teaching over the course of the institute. Everyone reconsidered the ways that digital techniques might help them analyze art history sources and teach core concepts in new ways, while also thinking concretely about reaching new audiences with their scholarship.

Rebuilding the Portfolio is one of three pilot projects, supported by the Getty Foundation this summer to increase the number of professional development opportunities for training art histories in digital humanities methods.

Follow #doingdah14 to read Rebuilding the Portfolio’s conversation, and to follow UCLA’s Beyond the Digitized Slide Library institute running this week and next.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Zephyrus

ISSN: 0514-7336
ZEPHYRVS es una Revista científica internacional de PREHISTORIA y ARQUEOLOGÍA, editada por la Universidad de Salamanca. ZEPHYRVS aparece semestralmente. Las secciones de ARTÍCULOS, VARIA y NOTAS CRÍTICAS/RESEÑAS publican, respectivamente, trabajos originales de investigación, informaciones científicas novedosas o hallazgos importantes, producidos en diversas partes del mundo, y estados de la cuestión o recensiones de monografías de calidad, seleccionadas entre aquellas obras recibidas en la Redacción de la Revista.
See the full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Art is Long, Life is Short: the XFR Collective Helps Artists Preserve Magnetic and Digital Works

XFR STN (“Transfer Station”) is a grass-roots digitization and digital-preservation project that arose as a response from the New York arts community to rescue creative works off of aging or obsolete audiovisual formats and media. The digital files are stored by the Library of Congress’s NDIIPP partner the Internet Archive and accessible for free online. At the recent Digital Preservation 2014 conference, the NDSA gave XFR STN the NDSA Innovation Award. Last month, members of the XFR collective — Rebecca Fraimow, Kristin MacDonough, Andrea Callard and Julia Kim — answered a few questions for the Signal.

"VHS 1" from XFR Collective.

“VHS 1″ from XFR Collective.

Mike: Can you describe the challenges the XFR Collective faced in its formation?

XFR: Last summer, the New Museum hosted a groundbreaking exhibit called XFR STN.  Initiated by the artist collective Colab and the resulting MWF Video Club, the exhibit was a major success. By the end of the exhibition over 700 videos had been digitized with many available online through the Internet Archive.

It was clear  for all of us involved that there was a real demand for these services, that there are many under-served artists who were having difficulty preserving and accessing their own media. Many of the people involved with the exhibit became passionate about continuing the service of preserving obsolete magnetic and digital media for artists.  We wanted to offer a long-term, non-commercial, grassroots solution.

Using the experience of working on XFR STN as a jumping-off point, we began developing XFR Collective as a separate nonprofit initiative to serve the need that we saw.  Over the course of our development, we’ve definitely faced — and are still facing — a number of challenges in order to make ourselves effective and sustainable.

"VHS 3" by XFR Collective.

“VHS 2″ by XFR Collective.

Perhaps the biggest challenge has simply been deciding what form XFR Collective was going to take.  We started out with a bunch of borrowed equipment and a lot of enthusiasm, so the one thing we knew we could do was digitize, but we had to sit down and really think about things like organizational structure, sustainable pricing for our services, and the convoluted process of becoming a non-profit.

Eventually, we settled on a membership-based structure in order to be able to keep our costs as low as possible.  A lot of how we’re operating is still very experimental — this summer wraps up our six-month test period, during which we limited ourselves to working with only a small number of partners to allow us to figure out what our capacity was and how we could design our projects in the future.

We’ve got a number of challenges still ahead of us — finding a permanent home is a big one — and we still feel like we’re only just getting started, in terms of what we can do for the community of artists who use our services.  It’s going to be interesting for all of us to see how we develop.  We’ve started thinking of ourselves as kind of a grassroots preservation test kitchen. We’ll try almost any kind of project once to see if it works!

Mike: Where are the digital files stored? Who maintains them?

XFR: Our digital files will be stored with the membership organizations and uploaded to the Internet Archive for access and for long-term open-source preservation.  This is an important distinction that may confuse some people: XFR Collective is not an archive.

While we advocate and educate about best practices, we will not hold any of the digital files ourselves; we just don’t have the resources to maintain long-term archival storage.  We encourage material to go onto the Internet Archive because long-term accessibility is part of our mission and because the Internet Archive has the server space to store uncompressed and lossless files as well as access files.  That way if something happens to the storage that our partners are using for their own files, they can always re-download them.  But we can’t take responsibility for those files ourselves. We’re a service point, not a storage repository.

"VHS 2" by XFR Collective

“VHS 3″ by XFR Collective

Mike: Regarding public access as a means of long-term preservation and sustainability, how do you address copyrighted works?

XFR: This is a great question that confounds a lot of our collaborators initially.  Access-as-preservation creates a lot of intellectual property concerns.  Still, we’re a very small organization, so we can afford to take more risks than a more high-profile institution.  We don’t delve too deeply into the area of copyright; our concern is with the survival of the material.  If someone has a complaint, the Internet Archive will give us a warning in time to re-download the content and then remove it. But so far we haven’t had any complaints.

Mike: What open access tools and resources do you use?

XFR: The Internet Archive itself is something of an open access resource and we’re seeing it used more and more frequently as a kind of accessory to preservation, which is fantastic.  Obviously it’s not the only solution, and you wouldn’t want to rely on that alone any more than you would any kind of cloud storage, but it’s great to have a non-commercial option for streaming and storage that has its own archival mission and that’s open to literally anyone and anything.

Mike:  If anyone is considering a potential collaboration to digitally preserve audiovisual artwork, what can they learn from the experiences of the XFR Collective?

XFR: Don’t be afraid to experiment!  A lot of what we’ve accomplished is just by saying to ourselves that we have to start doing something, and then jumping in and doing it.  We’ve had to be very flexible. A lot of the time we’ll decide something as a set proposition and then find ourselves changing it as soon as we’ve actually talked with our partners and understood their needs.  We’re evolving all the time but that’s part of what makes the work we do so exciting.

We’ve also had a lot of help and we couldn’t have done any of what we’ve accomplished without support and advice from a wide network of individuals, ranging from the amazing team at XFR STN to video archivists across New York City.  None of these collaborations happen in a vacuum, so make friendships, make partnerships, and don’t be nervous about asking for advice.  There are a lot of people out there who care about video preservation and would love to see more initiatives out there working to make it happen.

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

New translations, papers and upgrades to AIO launched

Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO) and EAGLE are delighted to announce the launch, on Tuesday 29th July, of a package of new English translations, supporting papers and upgrades to AIO:

1. 153 new translations (by Stephen Lambert, P. J. Rhodes, Feyo Schuddeboom and Lina van’t Wout).

A. From the late-5th cent. BC:

(a) sacrificial calendar of Thorikos
(b) Athenian decree on the administration of the property of Kodros, Neleus and Basile (IG I3 84)
(b) accounts of payments from the treasury of Athena, 410-407? BC (IG I3 375 and 377, the “Choiseul marble” in the Louvre, Paris)

B. A selection of 27 important Athenian laws and decrees of 403-353 BC

C. A newly published inscription of ca. 340-325 BC honouring the historian of Attica, Phanodemos

D. The corpus of Athenian decrees of 229/8-198/7 BC, 121 in total, together with brief historical notes (IG II3​ 1, 1135-1255)

This brings the total number of translations on the site to 469.

2. Two new AIO Papers (4 and 5) and a revised version of AIO Paper no. 1. These discuss particular inscriptions, or groups of inscriptions, in greater detail:
S. D. Lambert, Notes on Inscriptions of the Marathonian Tetrapolis. AIO Papers 1.
S. D. Lambert, Inscribed Athenian Decrees of 229/8-198/7 BC (IG II3​ 1, 1135-1255). AIO Papers 4.
S. D. Lambert, Accounts of Payments from the Treasury of Athena in 410-407 ? BC (IG II3​ 375 and 377)

3. Improvements to translations and metadata already on the site

4. Upgrades, including:

(a) responsive design, which will facilitate use of the site with tablets and mobile phones and the addition of fuller notes to the translations

(b) XML and JSON outputs and API to facilitate integration with EAGLE

(c) numerous other improvements to site design and functions.

Jason Heppler (History in the Digital)

First Draft Podcast: Liberation Technology →

This week: We talk about the accessibility of computational tools, systems, networks, data-driven decision making, neotopology, and pushback from specialists.

Jo Guldi (Inscape)

Finally! Google Begins to Think Big (Big History, That is)

In a keynote address delivered to the Berlin Open Knowledge Festival earlier this year, Googler Eric Hysen set up some big stakes for Google's future: Google, he said, has not yet begun to think big.  To really think big, Google would need to start thinking about history, and to think about infrastructure in particular.

How is it that enormous shifts in economics and politics have been executed in our historical experience?  The industrial revolution and the creation of the modern nation-state both rest upon the building of physical infrastructure, and in particular, upon the building of roads.  If Google wants to really change our reality -- to stand up to promises that the internet can bring transparency to government, that it transform public policy and public health, or that it can actualize democracy through access to information -- then Google would do well to think about how material infrastructure creates revolutions in information, and how the information revolution of our own time is also an infrastructure revolution.  All of these points are picked up by Hysen's keynote.  He gets it: this is not the first time the world has been transformed by laying pipe and getting people together, and we can learn from the past how to do it better and aim for bigger successes than before.

What I hear in Hysen's speech is an important trend in the way certain individuals have begun to understand our world anew, a return to long-term thinking.  That means using history to map out where we are in the present, and to foreground how we might engage vast processes and macroscopic patterns (for instance, actualizing democracy, as Hysen urges Google to do).


Long-term thinking stands out in contrast with many of the ways that policy-makers and consultants urge us to think big, including measuring employment or bottom-line returns on investment -- both important numbers, to be sure, but often one-dimensional measures which in recent decades have served as a distraction from larger goals like political and market participation, income inequality, and ecological sustainability.

The history of long-term thinking, what it consists in, how it went away, and why it's coming back is in fact exactly what I've been writing about for most of this summer, as I've been putting the finishing touches on a new book, The History Manifesto, with my co-author, Harvard professor David Armitage (you can already read the pre-release version online, but you'll miss out on the chapters on inequality, climate change, participation, economists and their data -- so make sure to pre-order your copy of the book).  The way we tell it, our society is in a crisis of short-term thinking where almost no institution from the government to the board room to the NGO thinks on timescales longer than twenty years into the future.  Thinking longer around the bend than that, we argue, has traditionally required engaging experts who think more than twenty years into the past, and that means engaging with history.

Eric Hysen is a member of a new generation of recent college graduates whose questions about the future leave them unsatisfied with one-dimensional measurements.   Individuals like Eric bring questions about the past to bear on speculation about how world-systems change on enormous scales.

Indeed, Hysen is hoping to inaugurate exactly such a pivotal change in the institutions around him.  Hysen's role at Google is to oversee the development of open voting protocols and open government schemes.  His group has established important landmarks for how Google can automate and scale the process of voluntary hacker groups opening up their government's data, including setting up a digital infrastructure for licensing and sharing data across platforms.  "We're not living up to our potential," Hysen states, throwing down the gauntlet.  He looks back three hundred years, and comes up with the turnpike trust revolution of seventeenth-century England, which, as he states, helped to diminish the length of the average Cambridge student's journey to London from two days to seven hours.  To my mind, however, Hysen's talk stops short of its own ambitions, even while it looks in the correct direction.

In one very important detail, Hysen is looking in the wrong place -- or rather, that is to say, in the wrong time.   Hysen's talk explicitly points to the first chapter of the transport revolution, the creation of turnpike trusts by parliament, as an example of how private enterprises working with government support can revolutionize an economic system.  But much of what Hysen is interested in -- the standardization of milestones, the straightening of paths, the leveling of hills and filling in of ditches in order to create flat roads and thus shorter journeys -- was actually part of a slightly later revolution, not the turnpike revolution of 1660-1760, but the interkingdom highway revolution of 1785-1848.  It's that latter revolution that interested me, and I wrote a book about it, setting it out in the history of infrastructure from ancient Persia to the internet.  The interkingdom highway revolution -- not the turnpike trusts -- was the revolution that gave us the modern economy as we know it today.

What separates the two revolutions is a difference in scale that changed everything after in the face of capitalism and what we expected it to do.  In the turnpike revolution, a hundred road startups appeared and improved transportation for a few wealthy individuals, creating a map of affluent towns with cobblestone roads, kicking back the returns to their happy investors.  In the interkingdom highway revolution, those small road startups were bought out and grafted together by a government initiative that had a radical new purpose.  It wouldn't be roads just for the few and wealthy any more.  Now, roads would be built to the poorest communities, the ones that normally couldn't afford to link up with prosperous markets.  Before roads, capitalism was just mercantilism, a trading game for the rich and powerful.  After roads, we expected capitalism to flow horizontally.  A rising tide would float all boats. In many times and places, that miracle of capitalism meant running water, flush toilets, newspapers, and cheap housing for the poor, all delivered through the miracle of free roads, built by someone else, running straight up to the doorstep of every newborn infant in every modern nation.  Without doing anything, without working or deserving it, individuals were born connected.  They could opt out, like Thoreau, moving to the woods, but someone believed that they should have the chance to get to market if they wanted it.  So new-paved roads came to each newborn baby's door, and most of us spend our lives walking on sidewalks and roads built by other people for our enjoyment, without thinking much about how they get us to places where we work and spend and play. Infrastructure is mutual aid, frozen into the form of architecture.  It's the only form of capitalism most of us want any part in.

Consider the implications for Google.  Hysen has smart landmarks -- interoperable data, more regular voluntary hackathon events -- but few of them address this question of reaching people who are on the outside of the normal flow of capitalism.  As a result, Silicon Valley money, whether working in California or Berlin or Bangalore, tends to create a bubble world of privileged software developers creating apps to buy and sell bangles or cars or the best bike routes, mainly catering to other privileged folk of their own race and class.  Like the turnpike trusts of the seventeenth century, they improve a mile or two of road, serving a smooth ride to the the cream of the population.  But for everyone else, life goes on unchanged.


So what if Google took a page from history?  What if Google and the German national government decided that who they really wanted to serve was the slum residents of Dar es Salaam, or the inhabitants of the Zaatari refugee camp, or the citizens of Red Hook, to make sure that they had adequate access to material infrastructure like water-points, toilets, broadband cables and routers, and the tools to govern these systems themselves?  What if they decided, as the designers of the interkingdom highway revolution did, that it was worth a cut to their investors at present to build a larger system, one so different in ambition and scale that it would change everything?  They would be working on creating a state-change in the kind of capitalism and democracy we know today, as different as the world after the transportation revolution was from the world before it.

Google hasn't been in this game, but many ambitious activist groups have been -- ones dedicated to building the digital infrastructure for public participation in places where Google does not yet have a constituency.  These groups -- Geeks Without Bounds, Taarifa, Ushahidi, and Public Lab -- are mainly staffed by coders working for the public good.  Their model is entirely centered on bringing participation to the excluded -- that is, to teaching geeks how to design the infrastructure after listening to the poor neighbors of Dar es Salaam (who are busy, mind you).  The result is some really transformative models of software designed for poor, busy people -- ones that allow folks with cell phones (but no internet) to tell each other when a water point is out of order, and then to pay someone local to repair it, all without the bureaucracy of the World Bank.  Global infrastructure enables a state change in local economies.

However, the efforts here are, much like the era of the Turnpike Trusts, piecemeal.  Coders who really believe that infrastructure brings freedom fly to Dar es Salaam or hang out in Red Hook on the basis of a couple of Knight Foundation grants or World Bank consulting gigs, but they aren't doing it for the money.  They are essentially voluntary and limited by the good will and idealism of a few western college graduates.  As a result, there's a limit to how far they can scale before they run out of funds, time, or enthusiasm, or just need to pay rent or make sure their babies have shoes.  A change of scale tends to happen with institutions like these when information is consolidated and centralized and coordinated.

Here's what I mean by looking backwards to look forwards.  The Big Transport Boom of the eighteenth century depended upon centralizing a vision and then training poor people, lots of them, to make roads for other poor people to get to market.  If they had concentrated only on rich people, it would have failed.

Imagine: if Google decided that it wanted to use its hackathons and intern power to regularly boost the power of these service groups.  Imagine constructing an infrastructure for training and deploying a thousand slum residents to incubate their own neighborhood-accountable projects.  Here's the historical lesson: Poor people build roads for poor people to do other things on.  An institution comes in and makes it scale a hundred thousand times over.  The economy is utterly transformed, a hundred times over.  The lead institution takes an infinitesimal cut on return on investment -- a tiny return, the equivalent of a gasoline tax, not a toll-road return to compensate investors any time within the next twenty years -- and the result is the invention of a new economic system, which pays back all participants on a scale hitherto unfathomable.


The other game that Google hasn't been in is the ownership of material infrastructure.  Eric Hysen rightly suggests that a game-changer would be to move on from apps.  Move from shiny apps to infrastructure and collaboration, he says, for instance more regular hackathons for open government.  It's true, regularizing collaboration would change it.  But there's another lesson of history here -- the importance of the material pipes through which information flows.

In the eighteenth century, those pipes were the roads, which carried state-coaches, which carried mail, parcels, and newspapers, thus generating an information revolution.  In the twenty-first century, those pipes are broadband cable.  Thus far, Google has been content to stand by while Cox and Comcast monopolize broadband across America (practically everywhere except Knoxville, TN and Lafayette, LA) and become pushy in international conversations, thus jeapardizing the relationship of the entire Global South to an open internet.  In practice, the Cox/Comcast monopoly means profits hand-over-fist for those who own the pipes, with almost no incentive to lay new pipes to poor people.  What that means is that there's an upward limit, even with a million Geeks Without Bounds groups in their ilk.  You can design all the software you want, but if there's no hardware to reach the poor, then the poor will still be on dial-up internet in the year 2025.

Fine: Google's is the software biz, not the hardware biz.  But if Google really wants a historical revolution of the kind Hysen describes, they cannot get it without a revolution in three-dimensional infrastructure: pipes, cables, servers, routers.  So consider claims about transformative nature of software initiatives like open government or open health.  Without pipes, the poor will not be downloading open government data in large amounts and doing their own calculations about how government could serve them better.  They might submit their information, but it will still only be a few, affluent, full-time researchers in schools of public health who do the calculations, in 2025 as now.  That's not an information revolution, it's just another notch in the belt of academia.

Google has every reason to want to be the force that creates an infrastructure revolution in our time.  Coordinating a software revolution between many communities using interoperable data is the first step, and the next step is making sure that that software revolution extends into the majority of the world's communities, which are still underserved and unlinked in real terms to anything like capitalism or democracy.  But that infrastructure revolution will be incomplete unless Google, the nations of the world, or the bankers decide to challenge monopoly ownership of the pipes as well. It's time to think big.

PS Many thanks to Evgeny Morozov for pulling me into this conversation

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

Finding the Missing Stories: The Prior Cemetery’s Unmarked Slave Graves

One of the more common (though often frustrating) questions we get in archaeology is “Why are you doing historic archaeology? We already know what happened”. To some extent, for eras […]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Trash, Pollution, and the Rural World

I have really enjoyed getting back into some scholarly habits the past couple weeks. I have even engaged in this primitive activity where I open a bound stack of paper and read the words, in order, written on each. I’ve heard that some scholars call it reading.

I was pretty excited to read some of the contributions to the Stephanie Foote’s and Elizabeth Mazzolini’s little volume called Histories of the Dustheap: Waste, Material Culture, Social Justice (MIT 2012). The book collects a series of articles on the history of trash, waste, and rubbish, and grounds them, to varying degrees, in the cross-disciplinary nexus of material culture studies and critical theory. The book, however, avoids being too theory laden and manages to speak to practical issues as much as conceptual ones. This practical edge reflects a particular strength of recent work on the history of trash and discard.  

The article that caught my attention most in the volume was Phaedra Pezullo’s “What Gets Buried in a Small Town: Toxic E-Waste and Democratic Frictions in the Crossroads of the United States.” She looks at the politics surrounding the discard of PCB in Bloomington, Indiana and locates her treatment in a larger consideration of rurality and pollution in American (although arguably also in global) history. Marginal places, like the rural west (e.g. North Dakota or Alamogordo, New Mexico) become the settings for morally ambiguous practices. It is hardly a leap to apply many of these paper to my recent research in the Bakken Oil Patch in sparsely populated western North Dakota or role in excavating Atari games from a landfill at the edge of a small town in New Mexico. 

In fact, the long Western tradition of sparsely populated, “wild” places as the source of various kinds of corrupting influences (from the so-called Germanic hordes who supposedly destroyed the Roman world to the uncivilized “wildlings” in the Game of Thrones) has provided a context for activities that would be far more problematic in the more densely built up core. The willingness to treat the periphery in a different way also captures the binary logic of Western colonialism where behaviors and attitudes unacceptable in the core meet with ambivalence in colonial places.

This process of internal colonization follows the rough and irregular edge of a rural-urban divide across the United States. Pollution caused by extractive industries in, say, the Bakken Oil Patch in western North Dakota, is simply the “price of progress” for residents of the core and for small communities who see sacrifice as a road to deeper integration with the core and access to economic and political power. In Pezullo’s study of Bloomington, Indiana, the social, economic, and political power of companies like Westinghouse helped to protect the use of PCBs in manufacturing in Indiana even as the risks became visible and known to the community. The absence of strong counterweights to wealthy and powerful corporate interests pervades the Bakken as well.  

Pezullo’s observations on pollution in rural America could likewise be applied to the dumping of thousands of unsold and returned Atari video games in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This moment in time reflects the “remoteness” of Almagordo from the prying eyes of shareholders. The presence of White Sands missile range nearby only reinforces the suitability for this sparsely populated stretch of rural land for activities set apart from the settlements and interests of most Americans. 

The next paper in the book looked at the discard and collection of trash on the slopes of Mt. Everest. Further chapters considered the pollution present in minority neighborhoods impacted by hurricane Katerina in New Orleans. Most of the papers considers the social construction of discard practices and pollution as mediated through varying degrees of economic and political remoteness. For anyone interested in grasping better how trash fits into our modern (and arguably premodern) world, the studies contained in this volume are valuable reads. 

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Il Monferrato: Innovazione per il Territorio

mappa-monferratoCosa significa digitalizzare il patrimonio culturale di un territorio? Probabilmente imparare a conoscerlo meglio, ma anche a metterlo a disposizione di tutti in modo diretto, trasparente e interattivo. Se ne parla il 2 e 3 agosto prossimi nell'ambito del Convegno "Le mappe del Monferrato", sponsorizzato da Sinergis, società del gruppo Dedagroup ICT Network.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)


A Latinometer™ gives you a reading on how others read you. Insert your prose into the slot below and find out!

20% and below: You see the world in concrete terms
20% to 35%: You sound educated
35% to 60%: You sound pretentious
60% and above: You are probably lying

If you do not like the way you sound, you can change!

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Disponibili gli Atti del Convegno sul risparmio energetico negli edifici storici

Sono ora disponibili gli Atti del Covegno organizzato dall'Associazione Dimore Storiche Italiane ADSI - Sezione Lazio tenutosi a Roma sabato 22 Marzo 2014 presso l'Auditorium del MAXXI dal titolo “Edifici Storici. Restauro e Risparmio Energetico: Nuove Tecnologie per Nuove Prospettive“. 

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

Abandoning the transcription of al-Makin project

In any language group the first literature that we read is usually the histories of themselves, by themselves.  In Arabic Christian literature there are five such histories: Agapius, Euthychius, Al-Makin, Bar Hebraeus, and one other whose name I can never remember.

Of all of these, the 13th century history of al-Makin has attracted my attention for a while.  The first half has never been printed.  The second half was printed in the 17th century, but the editor died before finishing it.  The remainder of the second half was printed recently.  I felt that I would like to make it all more accessible, so I obtained – with difficulty – some PDF’s of microfilms of manuscripts.  I decided that the first thing to do was simply transcribe one of these, and create an electronic text.  This would make the text accessible, and it would be possible for non-Arabists like me to read it using Google Translate.  A transcriber in Syria was engaged, via a French lady, and off we went.

Unfortunately the project simply will not make progress.  I have so far spent $600, but I have nothing to show for it beyond chunks of text, pages in the wrong order, and so forth.  Small problems become large problems.  Trivial issues block all progress.  Things simply do not get sorted out – things that, in Roman script, would be the work of half an hour to remedy.

I have decided, reluctantly, to do something that I never do.  I am going to abandon the project.  Situated as I am, I have no power to make anything happen.  So I am simply eating my heart out in vain.

I will lose the money, of course.  But I will get my life back.

My life, in the end, is worth much more.

Why, precisely, it is impossible to work with people in the middle east, to do even the simplest tasks, I do not know.   I suppose that this is why those countries are poor, and will always remain poor.

I apologise to anyone who was hoping to see this.  But unless I actually learn Arabic myself and do the job myself, it seems that nothing will be done.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

A Ercolano i Colloqui Internazionali di Archeologia

ercolano-gruppo-archeologicoIl Centro Herculaneum in collaborazione con il MAV - Museo Archeologico Virtuale di Ercolano organizza Ercolano il 18 e 19 Settembre 2014 i Colloqui Internazionali di Archeologia. I Colloqui sono stati organizzati nell’ambito del Forum Culture Napoli 2014, sotto il patrocinio dell’Unesco, con lo scopo di mettere in evidenza i talenti della nuova generazione che sta affrontando le sfide di gestire e di valorizzare il patrimonio culturale del Mediterraneo.

Una giornata per conoscere la datazione al radiocarbonio

c14-innova-campaniaIl Centro per lo Sviluppo ed il Trasferimento dell'Innovazione nel settore dei Beni culturali e Ambientali - INNOVA SCARL, in collaborazione con il Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica della Seconda Università di Napoli, organizza per il 10 ottobre una giornata dal titolo "14Cose da sapere ..... per sapere tutto del 14C (o quasi)". Sarà un incontro informale con i propri clienti, attuali o potenziali, al fine di illustrare gli aspetti della datazione radiocarbonica che spesso costituiscono una barriera tra il committente e il laboratorio che esegue l’analisi, sia nella fase preliminare nella quale il committente decide se e che cosa sottomettere, sia in quella dell’interpretazione dei risultati.

July 28, 2014

The Signal: Digital Preservation

The MH17 Crash and Selective Web Archiving

The following is a guest post by Nicholas Taylor, Web Archiving Service Manager for Stanford University Libraries.

Screenshot of 17 July 2014 15:57 UTC archive snapshot of deleted VKontakte Strelkov blog post regarding downed aircraft, on <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20140717155720/https://vk.com/wall-57424472_7256">Internet Archive Wayback Machine</a>.

Screenshot of 17 July 2014 15:57 UTC archive snapshot of deleted VKontakte Strelkov blog post regarding downed aircraft, on Internet
Archive Wayback Machine

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine has been mentioned in several news articles within the last week  (see here, here and here) for having archived a since-deleted blog post from a Ukrainian separatist leader touting his shooting down a military transport plane which may have actually been Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. At this early stage in the crash investigation, the significance of the ephemeral post is still unclear, but it could prove to be a pivotal piece of evidence.

An important dimension of the smaller web archiving story is that the blog post didn’t make it into the Wayback Machine by the serendipity of Internet Archive’s web-wide crawlers; an unknown but apparently well-informed individual identified it as important and explicitly designated it for archiving.

Internet Archive crawls the Web every few months, tends to seed those crawls from online directories or compiled lists of top websites that favor popular content, archives more broadly across websites than it does deeply on any given website, and embargoes archived content from public access for at least six months. These parameters make the Internet Archive Wayback Machine an incredible resource for the broadest possible swath of web history in one place, but they don’t dispose it toward ensuring the archiving and immediate re-presentation of a blog post with a three-hour lifespan on a blog that was largely unknown until recently.

Recognizing the value of selective web archiving for such cases, many memory organizations engage in more targeted collecting. Internet Archive itself facilitates this approach through its subscription Archive-It service, which makes web archiving approachable for curators and many organizations. A side benefit is that content archived through Archive-It propagates with minimal delay to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine’s more comprehensive index. Internet Archive also provides a function to save a specified resource into the Wayback Machine, where it immediately becomes available.

Considering the six-month access embargo, it’s safe to say that the provenance of everything that has so far been archived and re-presented in the Wayback Machine relating to the five-month-old Ukraine conflict is either the Archive-It collaborative Ukraine Conflict collection or the Wayback Machine Save Page Now function. In other words, all of the content preserved and made accessible to date, including the key blog post, reflects deliberate curatorial decisions on the part of individuals and institutions.

A curator at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives with a specific concern for the VKontakte Strelkov blog actually added it to the Archive-It collection with a twice-daily capture frequency at the beginning of July. Though the key blog post was ultimately recorded through the Save Page Now feature, what’s clear is that subject area experts play a vital role in focusing web archiving efforts and, in this case, facilitated the preservation of a vital document that would not otherwise have been archived.

At the same time, selective web archiving is limited in scope and can never fully anticipate what resources the future will have wanted us to save, underscoring the value of large-scale archiving across the Web. It’s a tragic incident but an instructive example of how selective web archiving complements broader web archiving efforts.

Mia Ridge (Open Objects)

The sounds of silence

I've been reading World War One diaries and letters (getting distracted by sources is an occupational hazard in my research) as I look for sample primary sources for teaching crowdsourcing at the HILT summer school in Maryland next week and for my CENDARI fellowship later this year.

I noticed one line in the Diary of William Henry Winter WWI 1915 that manages to convey a lot without directly giving any information about his opinions or relationship with this person:
'Major Saunders is supposed to be on his way back here as well but I don't know as he is coming back to our Coy, I hope not any way. We have got a good man now.'
There's nothing in the rest of the entries online that provides any further background. It may be that sections of this correspondence either didn't survive, weren't held by the same person, or perhaps were edited before deposit with the library or during transcription (it's particularly hard to judge as the site doesn't have images of the original document), so this particular silence may not have been intentional.

Whatever the case, it's a good reminder that there are silences behind every piece of content. While it's an amazing time to research the lives of those caught up in WWI as more and more private and public material is digitised and shared, silences can be created in many ways - official archives privilege some voices over others, personal collections can be censored or remain tucked away in a shoebox, and large parts of people's experiences simply went unrecorded. Content hidden behind paywalls or inaccessible to search engines (whether inadvertently hidden behind a search box or through lack of text transcription or description) is effectively hushed, if not exactly silenced. Sources and information about WWI collected via community groups on Facebook may be lost the next time they change their terms and conditions, or only partially shared. Our challenge is to make the gaps and questions about what was collected visible (audible?) while also being careful not to render the undigitised or unsearchable invisible in our rush to privilege the easily-accessible.

[Update: I've just realised that Winter might not have needed to provider further context as it seems many men in his unit were from the same region as him, and therefore his relationship with the Major may have pre-dated the war. Tacit knowledge is of course another example of the unrecorded, and one perhaps more familiar to us now than the unsayable.]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Punk Archaeology, Digital Humanities, and DIY

A few weeks back my buddy Paul Worley penned an interesting blog post on digital humanities and “getting hit by the proverbial bus.” The post talked about the ripple effect of Joel Jonientz’s death in our little digital humanities community on campus. For the University of North Dakota, the digital humanities was an explicitly collaborative affair with almost all of the successful project from the Working Group in Digital and New Media involving more than one member. It seems like Joel was central to most of these projects as much for his willingness to learn a new skill (or fake it) as his interest in what another member of the Working Group called “O.P.P.” (other people’s projects).  

One of the consequences of Joel’s passing is that many of us have had to pick up where he left off and actually try to learn new tools to complete our projects. The good Dr. Worley learned to animate using Photoshop, Dr. Ommen deployed his raw, but vivid illustrating skills to finish his adaption of Isocrates’ Against the Sophists, and I rolled up my sleeves and immersed myself in the intricacies of Adobe’s InDesign to keep The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota afloat. It is appropriate that the first book that I worked on is an edited collection of essays on Punk Archaeology where the DIY ethic thrives and compromised production values represent an aesthetic choice as much as a practical reality. 

As Paul noted, dynamic, collaborative Digital Humanities projects should always be somewhat fragile as DIY skills pass from one collaborator to the next and projects transform in changing contexts.  The significance and potential of collaboration will always extend beyond specific outcomes – e.g. a book or a successful grant proposal – and the value of catalytic individuals like Joel and spaces for collaboration like the Working Group, is in the transfer of specialized skills from one member of the collaboration to the next. From the university’s perspective, this transfer of skills provides stability and continuity for (sometimes well-funded) initiatives. From an individual faculty perspective, however, the fuzzy outcomes of digital humanities initiatives which often come in the form of skills rather than products, can be difficult to articulate, for example, within traditional tenure and promotion guidelines. To some, this tension is terrifying and represents the contradiction between the goals of the university as a community and the expectations placed on its individual members.

That being said, the task of taking new skills and using them is pretty scary too.

Digital Classicist Seminars

Clotho: Network Analysis and Distant Reading on the Perseus Latin Corpus (Thibault Clérice)

How do we handle Latin texts with digital tools? How do we apply to Latin sources technologies and algorithms which have been developed for the linguistic study of modern languages? Clotho is a resource which aims to address these questions in an Open-Source format, providing network analysis, data extraction mechanisms, and document statistics. Using these tools, Lasciva Roma, a project of cultural network analysis around the lexical field of terms related to sexuality, was launched in 2014. This seminar will explore and review this project, focusing on how the community can use these tools, and how to ensure the tools and the data will not be lost.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Friends of ASOR Podcasts

Friends of ASOR Podcasts
The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) is a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization that supports and encourages the study of the cultures and history of the Near East, from the earliest times to the present. ASOR is apolitical and has no religious affiliation.

We were founded in 1900 by twenty one institutions—including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia. Over a century later, ASOR has more than 90 consortium institutions, including universities, seminaries, museums, foundations, and libraries. In addition, we have more than 1,550 individual members.

ASOR communicates news of the latest research findings in our publications, through lectures at the Annual Meeting, and our overseas institutes host scholars working in the Middle East. ASOR's book series and journals, such as Near Eastern Archaeology and the Bulletin of ASOR, are intended for both a lay audience and specialist archaeologists, historians, and Biblical scholars. ASOR's Annual Meeting brings together scholars from around the world to present their latest findings and discuss their research. Our independent overseas institutes in Cyprus, Israel, and Jordan facilitate research in the field by students and scholars. Fellowship programs are available to provide funds for work at these institutes as well as for Mesopotamian studies and student travel to the Annual Meeting.

Digital Classicist Seminars

Retracing Theban Witness Networks in Demotic Contracts (Silke Vanbeselaere)

This paper focuses on the presence of witnesses in Demotic contracts from Ptolemaic Thebes. It investigates the interpersonal links between the three main actor groups of these contracts. The scribes and parties have always received a lot of attention from papyrologists, but the witnesses have more or less been neglected so far. We will try to provide an answer to the crucial question of how these witnesses were chosen with the help of social network analysis.

Corinthian Matters

A New History of Hellenistic Corinth

There was buzz around Corinth this summer about Michael Dixon’s forthcoming book on Hellenistic Corinth. I wasn’t expecting the work to arrive so quickly, but friends have passed on good news of its publication. Here’s the bibliographic reference:

Dixon, Michael D. Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth, 338-196 BC. Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies. New York 2014.

The book description at Routledge as well as sections of the introduction made available at that site show that the book comprises a study of Corinth’s relationship with the Macedonian kings and the Achaian koinon between the late classical period and the settlement following the Second Macedonian War. Here’s the abstract from the publisher’s page.

Large Image

Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth, 338-196 B.C. challenges the perception that the Macedonians’ advent and continued presence in Corinth amounted to a loss of significance and autonomy. Immediately after Chaironeia, Philip II and his son Alexander III established close relations with Corinth and certain leading citizens on the basis of goodwill (eunoia). Mutual benefits and respect characterized their discourse throughout the remainder of the early Hellenistic period; this was neither a period of domination or decline, nor one in which the Macedonians deprived Corinthians of their autonomy. Instead, Corinth flourished while the Macedonians possessed the city. It was the site of a vast building program, much of which must be construed as the direct result of Macedonian patronage, evidence suggests strongly that those Corinthians who supported the Macedonians enjoyed great prosperity under them. Corinth’s strategic location made it an integral part of the Macedonians’ strategy to establish and maintain hegemony over the mainland Greek peninsula after Philip II’s victory at Chaironeia. The Macedonian dynasts and kings who later possessed Corinth also valued its strategic position, and they regarded it as an essential component in their efforts to claim legitimacy due to its association with the Argead kings, Philip II and Alexander III the Great, and the League of Corinth they established.

This study explicates the nature of the relationship between Corinthians and Macedonians that developed in the aftermath of Chaironeia, through the defeat at the battle of Kynoskephalai and the declaration of Greek Freedom at Isthmia in 196 B.C. Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth is not simply the history of a single polis; it draws upon the extant literary, epigraphic, prosopographic, topographic, numismatic, architectural, and archaeological evidence to place Corinth within broader Hellenistic world. This volume, the full first treatment of the city in this period, contributes significantly to the growing body of scholarly literature focusing on the Hellenistic world and is a crucial resource for specialists in late Classical and early Hellenistic history.”

And the table of contents:

1. Corinth, The “Gateway of Isthmian Poseidon”

2. Corinth in the Age of Philip II and Alexander III, 338-323 B.C.

3. The “Corinthian Troubles,” Corinth and the Diadochoi, 323-301 B.C.

4. Antigonos Gonatas and Corinth, “The Passion of his Life”

5. Monuments and Cult in Early Hellenistic Corinth

6. The Achaian Interlude, 243-224 B.C. From Liberation to Rebellion

7. The End of Macedonian Corinth

8.Conclusions and Reflections Bibliography

This looks like a book of major importance for understanding the late Classical, Hellenistic, and early Roman interactions in Corinth. I’ve just ordered a copy for my college’s library.

Mia Ridge (Open Objects)

Piloting a Participatory History Commons

I've been awarded a CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin for a project called 'Bridging collections with a participatory Commons: a pilot with World War One archives'. I've posted my proposal at the link above, and when I start in September I'll post about my progress here. CENDARI have now published the list of all 2014 Fellows and a neat summary of the programme: 'The CENDARI Visiting Research Fellowships are intended to support and stimulate historical research in the two pilot areas of medieval European culture and the First World War, by facilitating access to key archives, specialist knowledge and collections in CENDARI host institutions'.

As I said in my post, 'it's an ambitious project which requires tackling community building, user experience design, historical materials and programming, and I'll be drawing on the expertise of many people'. I'll post as I go - but first, I'd best get back to finishing up my PhD thesis!

In the meantime, here's a small collection of things I've written as I think through what a participatory commons is and how it might work: my poster and talk notes for Herrenhausen conference and my keynote for Sharing is Caring, 'Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons platform: a provocation about collaborating with users'.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Analecta Romana Instituti Danici

[First posted in AWOL 15 March 2010. Updated 28 July 2014]

Analecta Romana Instituti Danici
P-ISSN: 0066-1392
E-ISSN: 2035-2506
Analecta Romana Instituti Danici (ARID) publicerer studier indenfor Instituttets hovedforskningsområder: humanistiske studier (f. eks. antikhistorie, arkæologi kunsthistorie, historie, litteratur, filologi), billedkunst og arkitektur. Siden 2008 udkommer tidskriftet både i en papir- og en digital udgave.
Analecta Romana Instituti Danici (ARID) publishes studies within the main range of the Academy's research activities: the humanities (e.g. ancient history, archaeology, art history, history, literature, philology), the fine arts and architecture. Since 2008 the journal is published both on paper and on-line.
La rivista Analecta Romana Instituti Danici (ARID) pubblica studi nell'ambito dei settori principali di indagine dell'Accademia di Danimarca: la ricerca umanistica (storia antica, archeologia, storia dell'arte, storia, letteratura, filologia), le arti figurative e l'architettura. A cominciare da 2008 ANALECTA è pubblicata anche online.
1-1960 2-1962 3-1965 4-1967 5-1969
6-1971 7-1974 8-1977 9-1980 10-1981
11-1982 12-1983 13-1984 14-1985 15-1986
16-1987 17/18-1988/9 19-1990 20-1992 21-1993
22-1994 23-1996 24-1997 25-1998 26-1999
27-2001 28-2002 29-2003 30-200431-2005
all volumes

New Open Access Journal: Indo-European Linguistics

Indo-European Linguistics
ISSN: 2212-5884
E-ISSN: 2212-5892 
image of Indo-European Linguistics
The peer-reviewed journal Indo-European Linguistics (IEL) is devoted to the study of the ancient and medieval Indo-European languages from the perspective of modern theoretical linguistics. It provides a venue for synchronic and diachronic linguistic studies of the Indo-European languages and the Indo-European family as a whole within any theoretically informed or analytical framework. It also welcomes typological investigations, especially those which make use of cross-linguistic data, including that from non-Indo-European languages, as well as research which draws upon the findings of language acquisition, cognitive science, variationist sociolinguistics, and language contact.

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

Is “Happy Birthday” an egregrious example of fraudulent claim of copyright?

Techdirt today have published an article making the extraordinary claim that one of the world’s leading music publishers has fraudulently collected hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties for the song, “Happy Birthday”, when – they say – it is in fact out of copyright:

Lawsuit Filed To Prove Happy Birthday Is In The Public Domain; Demands Warner Pay Back Millions Of License Fees

Happy Birthday remains the most profitable song ever. Every year, it is the song that earns the highest royalty rates, sent to Warner/Chappell Music (which makes millions per year from “licensing” the song).  However, as we’ve been pointing out for years, the song is almost certainly in the public domain. Robert Brauneis did some fantastic work a few years ago laying out why the song’s copyright clearly expired many years ago, even as Warner/Chappell pretends otherwise. …

The issue, as we’ve noted, is that it’s just not cost effective for anyone to actually stand up and challenge Warner Music, who has strong financial incentive to pretend the copyright is still valid. Well, apparently, someone is pissed off enough to try. The creatively named Good Morning to You Productions, a documentary film company planning a film about the song Happy Birthday, has now filed a lawsuit concerning the copyright of Happy Birthday and are seeking to force Warner/Chappell to return the millions of dollars it has collected over the years. That’s going to make this an interesting case.

I don’t pretend to know the rights and wrongs of the case.   The accusation, that Warner’s knew that the song was out of copyright, will take some proving.  What they may well achieve is to show that it is out of copyright.

The main impressions, that I take away from all of this, are two-fold.

Firstly, it is pretty plain that the law is infernally complicated.  How could such a lawsuit be possible, if the law were clear, simple and obvious?  How could there be any doubt, one way or the other?

Secondly, it is also plain that the time-limits on copyright have become absurdly extended.  All those involved in the production of this song are long dead.   I don’t suppose Jack Warner – himself dead – was born when the song was composed.  How is it in the public interest for the rights to exploit a 19th century song to be the property of an unrelated corporation  in the 21st century?

Copyright is not a moral right.  It did not exist for the majority of the history of mankind.  It was found to be in the interest of society that those who turned an idea into a physical product should be able to obtain monetary reward from it.  In consequence, in the 18th century, a copyright of a couple of decades was brought into existence.[1]  Nobody objects to this.  But a whole industry has grown up, subverting the principle in the interests of the publishing industry.

The case will be an interesting one.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Bando Regione Lazio per lo sviluppo di imprese nelle attività culturali e creative

lazio-creativoLa Regione Lazio ha approvato l'avviso pubblico per il sostegno e lo sviluppo di imprese nel settore delle attività culturali e creative. Scopo dell'iniziativa, per la quale sono stanziati 1,5 milioni di euro, è sostenere la nascita e/o lo sviluppo di start up innovative, operanti nei settori dell’audiovisivo, delle tecnologie applicate ai beni culturali, dell’artigianato artistico, del design, dell’architettura e della musica, cofinanziandone i costi di avvio e di primo investimento.

Archeologia e Realtà Virtuale: visite ad una villa romana con archeologi e tablet interattivi

ricostruzione-3d-dbcIl progetto Aquae Patavinae presenta la nuova iniziativa “Archeologia e realtà virtuale. Dai frammenti alle ricostruzioni”, suggestive visite alla villa romana accompagnati da archeologi professionisti e tablet interattivi. L'evento è organizzato ad un anno dall’apertura al pubblico della terza area archeologica di via Neroniana 21/23 a MontegrottoTerme(PD).

Un dipinto di Picasso rivela un volto nascosto

blue-room-picassoPer Pablo Picasso l'anno 1901 fu un momento cruciale per sperimentare e trovare il proprio stile. A soli 19 anni, viveva a Parigi, dipingendo furiosamente e in povertà, non era insolito per lui prendere una tela e riutilizzarla per una nuova idea. 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Suda News: "A translation of the last of the Suda’s 31000+ entries was submitted to the database on July 21, 2014 and vetted the next day."

Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography
... At present (July 2014), the family of active and emerita/us SOL contributors comprises over 200 individuals from five continents and more than 20 countries, but geography is not the only aspect that makes this group diverse and eclectic. In addition to research-active university faculty, our roster has included retired professors, scholars in countries where the internet provides an invaluable supplement to meager local resources, and talented classicists who for one reason or another have ended up in careers other than higher education. One of the great benefits of SOL is the opportunity the project gives to such scholars to make a valuable contribution to the field. SOL has also been used to good effect in the classroom. Instructors at several colleges and universities have assigned entries to graduate and advanced undergraduate students for supervised translating and annotating, and hundreds of their contributions are now a permanent part of the database and can be listed as published scholarly works on the students’ CV's. One of our most prolific contributors, Jennifer Benedict (over 4500 translations), did most of her work on the SOL as an undergraduate at William & Mary. Several scholars, including Peter Green, Malcolm Heath and John Melville-Jones, donated translations of entries that they had done previously for other purposes. 

A translation of the last of the Suda’s 31000+ entries was submitted to the database on July 21, 2014 and vetted the next day. This milestone is very gratifying, but the work of the project is far from over. As mentioned above, one of the founding principles of the project is that the process of improving and annotating our translations will go on indefinitely. Much important work remains to be done. We are also constantly thinking of ways to improve SOL's infrastructure and to add new tools and features. If you are interested in helping us with the continuing betterment of SOL, please read about how you can register as an editor and/or contact the managing editors

July 27, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Discentes: The Undergraduate Magazine for the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Discentes: The Undergraduate Magazine for the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

POTENZA Valley Project

POTENZA Valley Project
In 2000 a team of Ghent University (Belgium), under the direction of Prof. Frank Vermeulen, started a very intensive survey of an Adriatic valley. Denominated 'Potenza Valley Survey' (PVS), this research project aims at measuring the evolution of social complexity during Antiquity in a specific part of Central Italy. The fieldwork operations in the valley of the river Potenza included systematic archaeological field walking, active aerial photography, artefact studies, re-study of excavated evidence, detailed geomorphologic field mapping, geophysical surveys and topographic analysis. During the years these interdisciplinary and mostly non-invasive approaches allowed to obtain a new holistic synthesis of the occupation history in this territory, with a special emphasis on the protohistoric, Roman and early medieval periods.  

This website wants to take the PVS online, by offering up-to-date information on the aims of the project, the methodologies applied and the results gained. As frequently as possible, this site will be updated with more texts, maps and pictures. So please check regularly.

Tombes de Deir el Medina: Couverture photographique

Tombes de Deir el Medina: Couverture photographique
La nécropole de Deir el-Medina, concession de l’Ifao, a déjà fait l’objet de plusieurs publications. Toutefois, ces monographies ne reprennent pas toutes les photographies dont dispose l’Ifao ; en outre, dans le passé, les illustrations se limitaient souvent à des clichés en noir et blanc, voire à des planches au trait. 

La base de données ci-jointe réunit l’ensemble des clichés faits par l’Ifao (plaques de verre, diapositives couleurs, négatifs n/b, photos numériques), tombe par tombe, et, pour chaque tombe, paroi par paroi, en suivant la numérotation du « Porter & Moss »1 , universellement utilisée. Le classement permet ainsi une comparaison immédiate des clichés entre eux. Pour chaque photographie, le nom du photographe et la date de prise de vue sont indiqués. 

Nous avons pris le parti de mettre en ligne un certain nombre de clichés techniquement « imparfaits » (voire des diapositives qui ont « viré » au rose ou au violet), pour les raisons suivantes : certains clichés très anciens donnent un état du monument qui n’existe plus ; d’autres clichés ont un cadrage ou un éclairage différent de celui des photographies de bonne qualité et permettent ainsi de voir des détails différents. 

Concernant les datations : certaines datations ont fait l’objet d’une étude approfondie de la part des auteurs, d’autres sont simplement reprises à Porter & Moss en attendant mieux.

Pour l’instant, seules les images des tombes publiées s’affichent sur le site. Au fur et à mesure que sortiront de nouvelles publications de tombes, la base de données sera mise à jour.

Les photos sont en basse définition. Les chercheurs qui le souhaitent peuvent obtenir, à des fins scientifiques ou pédagogiques, ces mêmes photos en haute définition et sans légende incrustée via le lien Demande de reproduction, avec obligation de mentionner le copyright fourni par l’Ifao. La qualité de la photo affichée ne présage pas de la qualité finale de la photo demandée, en particulier pour les vues en noir et blanc. 

Le Service des Archives remercie Vincent Razanajao, Editor of the Topographical Bibliography and Keeper of the Archive, Griffith Institute (Oxford), pour nous avoir autorisés à reproduire les croquis de position établis par Miss Porter et Miss Moss (« the sketch plans in the Bibliography are not drawn to scale, and while giving a general idea of shape and proportions, are simply intended as a guide to the position of scenes and texts », Vol. I, first edition, 1927, p. XII). Grâce à l'aimable collaboration de V. Razanajao, des liens sont établis, pour chaque tombe (et bientôt pour chaque paroi), entre la base de données de l'Ifao et la nouvelle version, électronique, du Porter & Moss, le TopBib (http://topbib.griffith.ox.ac.uk).
Pour citer la base, on peut soit

July 26, 2014

The Homer Multitext

The traditional Trojan assembly

Over on our companion Oral Poetry blog, I continue my series on the Trojan catalogue in conjunction with and parallel to Casey’s blogging of the Catalogue of Ships. In my first post I looked at how the Trojans are introduced in our Iliad and how to understand some of the traditional language used. In my second post I continue looking at Iris's message to the Trojan assembly and how its use of traditional language both sets the “now” of the story into action and simultaneously evokes earlier episodes of the war.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Digital Gordion: The Gordion Archaeological Project

Digital Gordion: The Gordion Archaeological Project
This website is produced by the Gordion Archaeological Project at the Penn Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Our goal is to make key Gordion information and interpretations more immediately accessible to the world at large, and to encourage the broadest interest in this historically important place and the many cultural associations that have marked it through the centuries.
Thank you for taking the time to visit us. We hope you’ll enjoy learning about Gordion. If you have any comments or suggestions to improve our website, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
See linked data for Gordion/Vindia? via awld.js

Open Accesss Journal: Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIème siècle

 [First posted in AWOL 30 May 2012, updated 26 July 2014]

Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIème siècle
ISSN electronic edition: 1775-4275
Aitia. Regards sur la culture hellénistique au XXIe siècle est une revue internationale électronique. Elle s’intéresse à l’ensemble de la culture hellénistique. Les études hellénisitiques ont fait durant les deux dernières décennies des progrès considérables et ont connu d’importants bouleversements. Toute cette importante partie de la littérature, de l’art et de la philosophie est longtemps restée dans l’indifférence des chercheurs et universitaires en raison de son caractère déjà tardif et de sa complexité. La notion même de « période hellénistique » – qui débute au moment de la mort d’Alexandre, en 323 avant J.-C. et s’achève autour de 30 av. J.-C. – est assez récente. C’est pourtant un moment essentiel de l’histoire culturelle à l’articulation entre le monde classique grec et le monde romain, un moment essentiel où, notamment, se mettent en place la critique littéraire et l’approche scientifique des textes dans le cadre de la Bibliothèque du Musée à Alexandrie.