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Mapping the Classical World Since 1869: Past and Future Directions, SCS Annual Meeting 2019 Panel Online

February 12, 2019 in Conference, Presentation, Publication

SCS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, January 4, 2019


Invited Sesquicentennial Panel


Mapping the Classical World Since 1869: Past and Future Directions


Organizer & chair: Richard Talbert, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


1 Greek and Roman Mapping   Georgia Irby, College of William and Mary, VA


2 Modern Mapping Before Digitization   Richard Talbert


3 What Difference Has Digitization Made ?   Tom Elliott, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University


4 What Has the Ancient World Mapping Center Done for Us ?   Lindsay Holman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Center Director)


5 Rome’s Marble Plan: Progress and Prospects   Elizabeth Wolfram Thill, Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis


 Panel Overview

A 1980 APA/SCS committee report (Research Tools for the Classics) was correct on both counts to declare cartography at that date “an area of extremely great importance, where the state of our tools is utterly disastrous.”  The panel briefly discusses the disappointing lack of progress made during the previous past century, and advances reasons for its limitations (Papers #1, 2).  The main focus of the five papers, however, is on the transformation successfully achieved since around 1980, and still ongoing.

Three shifts may be identified as the keys to this transformation.  First, as Paper #1 explains, the more open, culturally sensitive approach to pre-modern cartography generated by the geographers Brian Harley and David Woodward has unlocked a fruitful, far-reaching re-appraisal of the purpose and value of ancient maps which is by no means yet exhausted.  Second, Paper #2 recalls the decisive insistence by the 1980 APA committee that, in view of the inadequacy of existing efforts worldwide to produce a major classical atlas or equivalent, the APA itself should take the lead in sponsoring one.  After initial failure, a decade-long international collaborative project to create such a reference work was successfully launched and funded, resulting in the publication of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World by Princeton University Press in 2000.  Third, the fortuitous transition from film-based mapmaking to digital during the 1990s made it practical to convert the Atlas and its data – with the use of digital technology – into a far more flexible and versatile resource than previously envisaged.

This technology, which has itself continued to develop, has given cartography a scope, complexity and richness unimagined in 1980.  Paper #3 in broad terms appreciates and illustrates this capacity for the advancement of the ancient field.  Paper #4 does likewise, but with specific reference to the expanding range of the Ancient World Mapping Center, the first institution of its type to be established (in 2000) for promoting cartography, geographic information science and historical cartography in the ancient field.  The Center was an unforeseen, visionary outgrowth of the project to create the Barrington Atlas, one which has amply fulfilled its promise.  Paper #5 offers an outstanding instance of how state-of-the-art digital technology can now bring to the study of a Roman monument a depth of insight unattainable until recently.  Moreover, this exciting new work on the Forma Urbis Romae fragments and the surviving wall to which they were once attached is a model of collaboration between Rome’s Musei Capitolini and the Ancient World Mapping Center.

The coherent, logical sequence of the panel’s five papers demonstrates to SCS not only that cartography today remains more than ever of extremely great importance to the ancient field, but also that the state of tools for it has now changed from disastrous to extraordinary, with further creative developments to be confidently anticipated.

N.B.  Because of more or less certain difficulties in obtaining permissions, the images shown at the panel to accompany each paper are not included here. 



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New Entry in Maps for Texts series

December 20, 2018 in Publication

The Center is pleased to announce that the latest entry in the Maps for Texts series, Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplous of the Bosporus, is now available. The Center’s single, static map is at a scale of 1:100,000. The place names follow the forms as in the text of Rudolf Güngerich (1927, reprinted 1958). Ancient cultural and geographic data follows data derived from Barrington Atlas Map 53 compiled by C. Foss and its Directory. For a link to download the map please email awmc@unc.edu.

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Wall Maps Published in 2011 Now Re-Issued

November 28, 2018 in Publication

The seven large Wall Maps produced by the Center and published by Routledge in 2011 have gone out of print, and the rights have reverted to the Center. We are pleased to make all seven available digitally (Map 6 now incorporating small corrections). Please email awmc@unc.edu for a link to download one or more files. It is possible to print from these files. The series is openly licensed under Creative Commons by 4.0.

• View all seven maps both from a distance and up close. • Designed for use, not by specialists, but by students new to antiquity and by their instructors in introductory courses. • Clear, uncluttered presentation of places and features most likely to be encountered at this entry level. • Familiar English forms for names are normally marked (except on Map 7). No accompanying text or gazetteer. • Locator outline shows the scope of each map in relation to others in the set, incorporating the boundaries and names (abbreviated) of the modern countries covered.

Dimensions (in inches) are for the entire map, width x height. All maps are plotted on 300dpi satellite images in the public domain; landscape is returned to its ancient aspect. Inks/color palette: red, green, blue.

1. (70 x 50) Egypt and the Near East, 3000 to 1200 BCE. Scale: 1:1,750,000.

1 Near_East earlier.jpg

2. (70 x 50) Egypt and the Near East, 1200 to 500 BCE. Scale: 1:1,750,000.

2 Near_East later.jpg

3. (66 x 48) Greece and the Aegean in the Fifth Century BCE. Scale: 1:750,000.

3 Aegean World .jpg

4. (65 x 35) Greece and Persia in the Time of Alexander the Great. Scale: 1:4,000,000.

4 Alexander.jpg

5. (70 x 58) Italy in the Mid-First Century CE. Scale: 1:775,000.

5 Italy.jpg

6. (65 x 50) The World of the New Testament and the Journeys of Paul. Scale: 1:1,750,000. Inset “New Testament Palestine” (Scale 1:350,000).

6 New_Testament Corrected 2018.jpg

7. (75 x 56) The Roman Empire around 200 CE. Scale: 1:3,000,000.

Image result for routledge wall maps roman empire


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New Entry in Maps for Texts series

November 14, 2018 in Publication

The Center is happy to announce our latest entry: The Black Sea Region Described by Arrian around 130 C.E., in the Maps for Texts series is now available online. The single static map matches the scale (1:750,000) and presentation of the Center’s Asia Minor in the Second Century C.E. (2017). The map is accompanied by a listing of the names in Arrian’s Periplus, with references to the Barrington Atlas and its Directory, and to the editions by Alain Silberman (1995) and Aidan Liddle (2003). This listing of names is available via dropbox. For a link to download the map, which prints at 86 in by 45 in (at 300 dpi), please email awmc@unc.edu.

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Digital Cartography: New Maps, Ancient History, November 2-3, Conference Program

October 5, 2018 in Conference, Interest

Digital Cartography: New Maps, Ancient History

Nov. 2-3, 2018

A conference co-sponsored by the Ancient World Mapping Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Duke University’s Departments of Classical Studies and of Art, Art History & Visual Studies

All are welcome.  There is no registration fee, but do please notify us by October 28th that you plan to come on either or both days: just send a message with your name to awmc@unc.edu, with “Conference 2018” in the message subject line.  You will then receive details about the UNC-Duke Robertson bus and Saturday parking at Duke.



Friday, November 2nd 

2.15-3.45 pm  AWMC Open House – drop in at your convenience – with demonstration of current work there, Ancient World Mapping Center, UNC, Chapel Hill, Davis Library 5010

5.15-6.45 pm  (Rubenstein 249, in Duke University Rubenstein Library, West Campus)  Welcome, and Keynote Address by Dr. George Bevan (Queen’s University, Ontario),

“Photogrammetry and Heritage Documentation in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Past and Challenges for the Future”

7.00-8.00 pm  (Duke University Bryan Center)  Reception

Saturday, November 3rd     

(Rubenstein 249, in Duke University Rubenstein Library, for the entire day)

9.00 am  Coffee, tea, juices, pastries 


Session 1  (chair: Mary T. Boatwright)

9.15-9.50 am  Christopher S. Saladin (University of Minnesota), “City in Transition: Mapping the Transformation of Ancient Carthage”

9.50-10.25 am  Loren T. Cowdery (University of Minnesota), “In Search of a Blueprint: Using GIS to Map the Republican Empire in the Western Mediterranean”

10.25-11.00 am  Gabriel Moss (UNC, Chapel Hill), “Mapping the Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE):     A GIS Analysis of Provincial Resistance”


11.00-11.20 am  Break  (coffee, tea, juices, pastries) 


Session 2  (chair: Maurizio Forte)

11.20-11.55 am  Chad Uhl (University of Kansas, Lawrence), “Quod versu dicere non est. Implications of the Unnamed Oppidulum in Horace’s Satires 1.5”

11.55am-12.30 pm  Micah Myers and Joseph Murphy (Kenyon College), “Teaching Roman Mobility: Digital Visualization in the Classroom and in Undergraduate Research”

12.30-1.05 pm  Lindsey A. Mazurek (University of Oregon) and Cavan W. Concannon (University of Southern California), “Mapping Social History: New Approaches to Epigraphy at Ostia”


1.05-2.15 pm   Lunch  (Duke campus eateries in the Brodhead Center – on your own)


Session 3  (chair: Richard Talbert)

2.15-2.50 pm  Katherine McCusker (Duke University) and Antonio LoPiano (Duke University), “Secrets Beneath the Surface: GPR and Remote Sensing at Vulci”

2.50-3.25 pm  Kristen Jones (Queen’s University, Ontario), “Mapping the Original Location of the Forma Urbis Romae: Digital Methods and Technical Constraints”

3.25-4.00 pm  Adam Mertel, Peter Ondrejka, David Zbíral, Hana Hořínková (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic), “Early Christian Baptisteries – From Geocoding to Space-time Exploration”


4.00 pm  Closing remarks

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New Book of Interest

October 5, 2018 in Interest, Publication

AWMC Founder Richard Talbert’s new book, Challenges of Mapping the Classical World is now available from Routledge, in hardcover and as an e-book.Challenges of Mapping the Classical World (Hardback) book cover

About the book: Challenges of Mapping the Classical World collects together in one volume fourteen varied items written by Richard Talbert over the past thirty years. They cohere around the theme of mapping the classical world since the nineteenth century. All were originally prompted by Talbert’s commission in the late 1980s to produce a definitive classical atlas after more than a century of failed attempts by the Kieperts and others. These he evaluates, as well as probing the Smith/Grove atlas, a successful twenty-year initiative launched in the mid-1850s, with a cartographic approach that departs radically from established practice. Talbert’s initial vision for the international collaborative project that resulted in the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2000) is presented, and the successive twice-yearly reports on its progress from 1991 through to completion are published here for the first time. A further item reflects retrospectively on the project’s cartographic challenges and on how developments in digital map production were decisive in overcoming them. This volume will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in the development and growing impact of mapping the classical world.


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Digital Cartography: New Maps, Ancient History, Call For Papers Deadline Extended (September 19, 2018)

September 12, 2018 in Conference

Due to Hurricane Florence, the deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to September 19, 2018.

Digital Cartography: New Maps, Ancient History

November 2 and 3, 2018

at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Co-organizers: Mary T. Boatwright, Maurizio Forte, Richard Talbert

Keynote speaker: Dr George Bevan, Associate Professor of Geography and Planning (cross-appointed to Art History/Conservation, Geological Science and Engineering, and Classics), Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada

Duke’s Departments of Classical Studies and of Art and Art History and Visual Studies, in partnership with the Ancient World Mapping Center at UNC Chapel Hill, seek paper proposals for Digital Cartography, a conference on digital mapping and its multiple potential applications for a richer understanding of ancient history. We invite papers on individual or collaborative projects involving such approaches as mapping, photogrammetry, G.I.S. and remote sensing, virtual reality systems, the documentation of archaeological data, and communication both in the classroom and to a wider public. Preference will be given to proposals from graduate students and junior faculty.

Interested speakers (20 minutes maximum) should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words together with a brief C.V. to awmc@unc.edu by September 19, 2018 (please enter “DigCart Abstract” in the message subject line). Those whose papers are selected will be notified by October 1st.

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2017-2018 Annual Report

July 30, 2018 in Report

5-1-2017 to 4-30-2018

ANCIENT WORLD MAPPING CENTER (http://awmc.unc.edu)

This year too has been an extremely active one for the Center.  Not only did the range of ongoing activities continue very productive, but it also expanded, especially in collaboration with external partners.

The Center continued to create a wide variety of commissioned maps, for both publications and a museum exhibit.   Among the large commissions were nine maps for Fred Naiden’s Soldier, Priest, and God, six for Taco Terpstra’s Trade in the Ancient Mediterranean: Private Order and Public Institutions, five for Lukas De Blois’ Image and Reality of Roman Imperial Power in the Third Century AD: Impact of War, and four for the antiquities collection of the University Museum, Oxford, MS.

As part of the longstanding collaboration with the Pleiades Project at New York University, Center staff participated in several Pleiades educational workshops.  Director Lindsay Holman and Associate Director Gabriel Moss led tutorials on how to utilize Pleiades and mapping applications at the Pelagios Commons and Pleiades Pedagogy Workshop organized at the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, in November.  Both also spoke about the Center’s collaboration with Pleiades at the Workshop: “Turning Spatial with Pleiades: Creating, Teaching and Publishing Maps in Ancient Studies” during the January 2018 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Substantial effort was devoted to expanding the Maps for Texts series launched last year. As a result, the Center has finally been able to release an interactive map of Hierokles’ Synekdemos available as an online application. This map follows Ernest Honigmann’s edition of Hierokles’ text (Brussels, 1939) and serves to supersede his four unwieldy printed outline maps.  Using the Center’s Map Tiles as its base, the new map marks all cities and regions which may be identified and located with some confidence according to the Barrington Atlas.  The interactive map application is accompanied by a documented database of all place-names in the Synekdemos.  At year’s end, the Center’s map of Theophanes’ journeys between Hermopolis and Antioch (as recorded in Rylands papyri) was due for release in summer 2018, and a completed draft of Arrian’s Periplus of the Black Sea (made at 1:750,000 scale to match the Center’s Asia Minor in the Second Century C.E.) had been sent out for expert review; its release in fall 2018 can be confidently expected.  Meantime Gabriel Moss and Laura Roberson have continued work on the major undertaking of an interactive map for books 2–6 of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History to accompany the new English translation in preparation by Brian Turner (former Center Director) and Richard Talbert.

This year the Center expanded its partnership (at no cost) with the United States Committee for the Blue Shield.  Numerous well-qualified interns (Olwen Blessing, Lacey Hunter, Alexa Kennedy, Ad Lane, Kurt Nelson, Kimberly Oliver, Michael Purello and Kelly Williams) assisted with this project under the direction of Gabriel Moss and Alexander Griffin (Assistant Director of the Cultural Heritage Protection Project).  These interns worked on developing “no-strike lists”, inventories of cultural heritage sites in active or potential war zones, to be utilized by USCBS which in turn coordinates with the United States and allied militaries to protect these sites from human destruction.

Lindsay Holman and Peter Raleigh assisted with preparation of a new book by Richard Talbert Challenges of Mapping the Classical World (Routledge, forthcoming fall 2018), in which the Barrington Atlas and the Center feature prominently.  Work was also done to assist Talbert’s initiative to study the mapping of Asia Minor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, by Hienrich and Richard Kiepert in particular.  Peter Raleigh produced interactive locator outlines for Heinrich’s Specialkarte vom Westlichen Kleinasien and Richard’s Karte von Kleinasien, while Leah Hinshaw made a start on the complex challenge of identifying and annotating the changes introduced for each successive edition of Richard’s Karte.

The Center is now close to finalizing a three-year partnership agreement with the Sovraintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali, Roma Capitale, Italy, for joint documentation and study of Rome’s Forma Urbis, the Severan Marble Map or Plan of Rome; a location in which to display its fragments is being actively developed.  Also collaborating in this partnership are Profs. Ryan Shaw (UNC School of Information and Library Science) and Elizabeth Wolfram Thill (Director, Program in Classical Studies, Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis).  The Center has already commissioned a key step for advancing this initiative: the creation (upcoming) of a very high-resolution photogrammetric image of the wall on which the Map was originally displayed.

In order to assist planning for Routledge’s revised edition of Richard Talbert’s Atlas of Classical History (1985) by co-editors Benet Salway and Hans van Wees (both at University College London), Lauren Taylor drafted several models which demonstrate – among other improvements only made practical by digital cartography – the potential of rethinking the scale and scope of certain maps in the original edition and of adding color.  During a visit to the U.K. in April for various purposes, Lindsay Holman was able to discuss these ongoing experiments rewardingly with both co-editors.

Given the success of the conference held by the Center in 2016, plans have been developed for another.  It is scheduled for November 2018, and is sponsored jointly with Duke University’s Departments of Classical Studies and of Art and Art History and Visual Studies.

The contributions made by the Center’s expanded workforce this year have been outstanding: two graduate students (Gabriel Moss, Peter Raleigh) and five undergraduates (Dara Baldwin, Leah Hinshaw, Andie Migden, Laura Roberson, Lauren Taylor).  After two years as cartographic assistants, Laura and Lauren are both now graduating and will be greatly missed.  Having completed a remarkable first year as Director, Lindsay Holman will continue in this position for 2018–2019.

Lindsay Holman

Richard Talbert


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Valuable New Tabula Imperii Byzantini Resource (Dig-TIB)

July 27, 2018 in Interest, Publication

A database of all place names in Tabula Imperii Byzantini I–9 is now available at https://tib.oeaw.ac.at/index.php?seite=digtib

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New Entry in Maps for Texts Series

June 21, 2018 in Publication

The Center is pleased to announce a new entry in our Maps for Texts Series. The single, static map (available via dropbox) plots Theophanes’ journeys between Hermopolis and Antioch in the early fourth century C.E., as recorded in the Rylands Papyri. The map is based on the edition by Colin Roberts (1952), and the translation by John Matthews, The Journey of Theophanes: Travel, Business, and Daily Life in the Roman East (2006). The name-forms and dates marked are as in the papyri.