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AWMC Annual Report 2014-2015

August 6, 2015 in Report

5-1-14 to 4-30-15

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

This has been another very productive year for the Center.  Its publicly accessible map tiles, released last year, were significantly refined by the incorporation of OpenStreetMap data into the layers for coastlines, rivers and lakes.  Featuring some of the most precise geographic information available, OpenStreetMap data provides a new level of detail far superior to previous maps made from a VMAP0 base.  Because OpenStreetMap is primarily focused on contemporary conditions, it has been necessary for the Center to remove all modern manmade features from the Mediterranean and other coastlines, painstaking work typically to be done at very large scales.  This immense task was completed by the end of the year; the revisions will soon be incorporated into a new version of the Center’s map tiles and offered for download on the Center’s site.

A challenging, but instructive, major project which took the entire year to complete was the production of as many as 130 maps, battle-plans and site-plans in full color for The Routledge Atlas of the Ancient Near East and Persia from the Bronze Age to the Roman Imperial Period by Trevor Bryce and Jessie Birkett-Rees at the University of Queensland and Monash University respectively, Australia. This work was undertaken principally by Gabe Moss and Ray Belanger.  It hardly needs stressing that in terms of chronology, culture and geography the scope of this atlas is vast, and not surprisingly some of the plans in particular (Troy, for example) proved very demanding to draft.  A further important large project for which planning in collaboration with Oxford University Press has begun is a substantial range of maps of various types to illustrate the Oxford Classical Dictionary: in the revised, rethought online edition now being developed, this standard reference work is to include maps for the first time.

Other commissions fulfilled by the Center included seven maps for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions edited by Eric Orlin, as well as one map for the first English-language edition of Bertolt Brecht’s novel The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar, and another for Federico Santangelo’s biography of Gaius Marius (both Bloomsbury Publishing).  Many maps were made for Oxford University Press works: four for Luca Grillo’s commentary on Cicero, De Provinciis Consularibus; three for a monograph on Sophocles by Oliver Taplin; one for a monograph on Roman historical drama by Patrick Kragelund; and several, together with plans, for Richard Talbert’s Roman Portable Sundials: The Empire in Your Hand.  Further maps and plans were produced discreetly for Talbert’s surprise Festschrift Aspects of Ancient Institutions and Geography (Brill).  Plans for a set of maps to illustrate the bible were developed with the Bible and Gospel Trust, UK.  Cambridge University Press has now published the online map made by the Center to accompany Duane Roller’s translation of Strabo’s Geography.  As usual, the Center licensed a number of its previously published maps for reproduction, sometimes in modified form.

The Center’s wallmap of Asia Minor in the second century CE at 1;750,000 scale has been completed.  It is to be published with the volume of proceedings arising from the Ankara conference Pathways of Communication: Roads and Routes in Anatolia from Prehistory to Seljuk Times, to which Talbert has also contributed a chapter entitled “The mapping of classical Asia Minor and its routes: Progress and prospects from Richard Kiepert to Global Positioning Systems.”  Talbert and Center Director Ryan Horne presented the next wallmap in early draft – Hispania, also at 1:750,000 scale – at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in New Orleans, LA, where it was well received.  Two invitations to discuss the Center’s work were accepted – by Horne at the Wake Forest University Digital Humanities Kitchen, and by Talbert at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.  Talbert also taught a class on the Barrington Atlas by Skype for a Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire course at Radboud University, Netherlands.  Horne delivered the keynote address, focusing on digital mapping, for the UNC/King’s College London Transatlantic Conference.

At the graduate level, two students were recruited to the Center, Will Knauth (School of Information and Library Science) and Gabe Moss (History), while Ray Belanger unexpectedly proved able to continue working after graduation.  Ashley Cloud was recruited at the undergraduate level, joining Michael Heubel who continued.  While all have done excellent work, a special note of appreciation for Ray is in order as he leaves for a second time; the remarkable skill which he developed in drafting plans will be hard to replace.  The greatest loss by far, however, is that of Ryan Horne, who has capped five years of extraordinarily dedicated and creative work at the Center by serving as Director.  Most recently, Ryan’s continued commitment to the upgrading of the Antiquity-A-La-Carte tool and to furtherance of the Center’s partnership with the Pleiades project at New York University (pleiades.stoa.org) has been quite invaluable.  It is hard to thank him enough for all these efforts, which will continue to have longterm impact worldwide.  He is to be congratulated on his appointment as post-doctoral fellow at UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative.  Ryan’s successor as Director is Gabe Moss.

Ryan Horne
Richard Talbert

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Upcoming Peutinger Map Conference

July 31, 2015 in Interest, News, Presentation

Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt has announced the program for their upcoming conference on the Peutinger Map.  Bringing together presenters from more than half-a-dozen countries, the conference runs October 8-10.

Full-Size Flyer

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Pleiades Wins Grant

July 31, 2015 in Funding, News, Pleiades Project

AWMC Founding Director Thomas Elliott and the Pleiades Project have received a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The grant will fund “substantive changes to the technical and editorial infrastructure for the Pleiades gazetteer,” a joint project of New York University, the STOA Consortium, and AWMC.  Many congratulations to Dr. Elliott and the entire Pleiades community!

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Campus Martius Book Released by Cambridge University Press

February 3, 2015 in News, Publication

9781107664920This handsome new study by Paul W. Jacobs II and Diane Atnally Conlin, Campus Martius: the Field of Mars In the Life of Ancient Rome (isbn: 9781107664920)with several maps made at the Center, is now available from Cambridge University Press.

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AIA and SCS Joint Meeting 2015: Draft Map of Hispania in the Second Century C.E.

December 19, 2014 in Class Maps, Presentation, Wall Maps

hispania_imageRichard Talbert and Ryan Horne from the AWMC will be presenting a Draft Map of Hispania in the Second Century C.E.  at the Poster Session of the AIA New Orleans meeting, Friday 9 January 2015, 10:45 am to 3: 00 pm.

Detailed information is available on our flier, linked here.

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Cambridge University Press Publishes The Medieval Peutinger Map

September 25, 2014 in Interest, Publication

Emily Albu’s new monograph is forthcoming imminently from Cambridge University Press ( ISBN: 9781107059429), a very handsome volume (we have seen an advance copy).

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Barrington Atlas Application mentioned in the New York Times

August 25, 2014 in Barrington, Interest, News, Review

0824-BKS-Applied1-tmagSFThe New York Times has favorably reviewed the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World for the iPad. You can read the review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/books/review/gateways-to-the-classical-world.html

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Cambridge University Press Publishes The Geography of Strabo

August 21, 2014 in Antiquity À-la-carte, E-resource, Publication

 

Strabo ImageDuane W. Roller’s remarkable new English translation of Strabo’s Geography is now available from Cambridge University Press ( ISBN: 9781107038257; e-book ISBN: 9781139950374). To accompany it, the Center has produced a seamless, interactive online map which is accessible free: http://awmc.unc.edu/awmc/applications/strabo.  The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa. In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization.  

 

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AWMC Annual Report 2013-2014

June 26, 2014 in Antiquity À-la-carte, API, Interest, News, Pleiades Project, Presentation, Publication, Report, Wall Maps

5-1-13 to 4-30-14 

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

Among the projects undertaken by the Center during this very active year two major preoccupations stand out.  One was the initiative to release a series of publicly accessible map tiles suitable for use in almost any web mapping application or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software suite (http://awmc.unc.edu/wordpress/tiles/).  This ambitious goal was achieved early in 2014.  Created from data produced by the Center and generously hosted on Mapbox servers courtesy of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, these map tiles are the first (and, currently, only) geographically accurate base map of the ancient world from Britain to Bactria.  The tiles conform to the broad periodization (Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Late Antique) presented in the Barrington Atlas.  Inland water, rivers, shorelines and other geographical features are returned so far as possible to their ancient appearance. The neutral presentation enables scholars to represent the physical environment of nearly any ancient society within the vast arc of space spanned.   Also early in 2014 the Center released revised tiles of the Roman road network.  All these new map tiles were rapidly adopted by the Pleiades Project (see below) for its web interface, and by the beta version of Stanford University’s ORBIS Project 2.0 (http://orbis.stanford.edu/v2/index.html).

The new tiles are in turn the building blocks for the Center’s beta version of Antiquity À-la-carte 3.0 in preparation (http://awmc.unc.edu/awmc/applications/carte-transitional/).  It should fully replace the current and still-active version 2.0 by the end of next academic year.  Like version 2.0, it is a versatile web-based GIS interface and interactive digital atlas of the ancient Mediterranean world, offering data produced by the Center as well as the entire feature set of its longterm ongoing partner the Pleiades Project (http://pleaides.stoa.org). As with 2.0, users can frame, populate and export maps according to their own design, either selecting the Center’s data or adding their own content, including line work and shading.  In accordance with the Center’s standard operating procedure, all this content is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, permitting free use for non-commercial purposes.

The Center’s other major preoccupation was completion of a seamless, interactive online map to accompany the remarkable new translation into English of Strabo’s massive Geography by Duane W. Roller (The Ohio State University) due for publication in both print and electronic formats by Cambridge University Press in summer 2014.  The map itself is accessible free: http://awmc.unc.edu/awmc/applications/strabo.  The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa.   In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization.  While production of this map inevitably presented the Center with technical obstacles, its success in overcoming them has assisted other mapmaking initiatives.  The opportunity for the Center to incorporate the enormous body of Strabo’s geographic information into its API (http://awmc.unc.edu/api) has also been invaluable.

The Center’s wallmap of Asia Minor in the Roman imperial period at 1:750,000 scale (measuring 4 x 6.5 ft) is a longterm project that has presented even more challenges than the Strabo map.  Fortunately, it has at last been brought very close to completion this year.  Richard Talbert exhibited a near-final draft in Ankara, Turkey, at the conference Pathways of Communication: Roads and Routes in Anatolia from Prehistory to Seljuk Times, where it was so favorably received that the British Institute requested permission to keep it on display.  The Center has begun work on a similar map of the Iberian Peninsula at the same scale.

Mapmaking commissions fulfilled by the Center included two maps for Clifford Ando (University of Chicago) to illustrate his research on the Romans’ pacification of North Africa; one plan of Augustan Rome, three plans of Rome and Constantinople in the fourth century AD, and one overview map of the Mediterranean for the forthcoming monograph Sacred Founders (University of California Press) by Diliana Angelova (University of California, Berkeley); one map of the Sasanian Empire in the third century AD for a Brill monograph by Iain Gardner (University of Sydney); and six maps of Eurasia, the Roman empire, Roman North Africa, the barbarian kingdoms, the Iranian world, and central Asia in the fifth century AD for The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila edited by Michael Maas (Rice University).  The Center supplied all 28 maps for the second edition of Mary Boatwright and co-authors, A Brief History of the Romans (Oxford University Press).  In addition, the Center provided an integration of its current map tiles and shapefiles of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as its Peutinger Map files, for the Fall 2013 exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, Measuring and Mapping Space: Geographic Knowledge in Greco-Roman Antiquity. The Center also assisted Princeton University Press in the test stages of its innovative re-issue of the Barrington Atlas as an app for iPad 2.0+.

Richard Talbert gave a lecture at the ISAW exhibition, and a keynote address on mapping Asia Minor at the Ankara conference Pathways of Communication.  At the Chicago annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Steve Burges (now a graduate student at Boston University) presented a paper “The creation of the Forum Romanum: Three-dimensional mapping and Rome’s flood-prone valley,” incorporating research he had done at the Center for his UNC senior honors thesis last year.  In Chapel Hill, Ross Twele, Ryan Horne and Michael Heubel were chosen to make a presentation at the Historical GIS Student Showcase in April.  The Center also made a poster presentation on Antiquity À-la-carte and its Strabo map for University Research Day.

As hoped, several students who had been working most productively at the Center returned to continue this year.  Ryan Horne again played a major role by taking the lead in the release of all the new map tiles, in the ongoing work on Antiquity À-la-carte 3.0, and in solving the difficulties of presentation faced by the Strabo and Asia Minor maps.  Ray Belanger further expanded the Center’s geodatabase of physical and cultural features derived from the Barrington Atlas.  Luke Hagemann incorporated Greek place names into the database and cross-referenced Strabo’s toponyms with Pleiades IDs.  Two undergraduate students and one graduate (Lindsay Holman) were recruited: Audrey Jo revised the Center’s shoreline geodatabase especially in regions where marked change has occurred since antiquity.  Michael Heubel created a new geodatabase of polyline extents and labels for regions, peoples, tribes and physical features.  Lindsay expanded the geodatabase of rivers courses, in particular to classify them at distinct zoom levels for online viewing.  Audrey, Luke and Ray all graduated, and their loss will be keenly felt, as will that of this year’s exemplary acting director Ross Twele.  He has been tireless, creative, diplomatic, and enviably clear-headed in advancing an array of demanding projects and responsibilities each at a different stage and with its own distinctive needs.  Ross will be succeeded by Ryan Horne.

Ross Twele

Richard Talbert

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Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered now in paperback

May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Prof. Richard Talbert’s (UNC Chapel Hill) monograph Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered is now available in paperback from Cambridge University Press.  The companion website to this study, created by the Ancient World Mapping Center, can be accessed here.

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