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2016-2017 Annual Report

August 1, 2017 in Report

5-1-2016 to 4-30-2017

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

Yet again this has been an extremely active year at the Center, with the production of multiple commissioned maps, the completion of several projects initiated by the Center itself, and the formation of a new partnership to apply historical mapping technology to the public good.

The level of commissioned work reached an all-time high.  Notably, the Center produced three maps for Brill’s Companion to Military Defeat in Ancient Mediterranean Society (ed. Brian Turner and Jessica Clark), six maps for Damian Fernandez, An Invisible Class in a Silent Land: Aristocracy and Statehood in Western Iberia, three maps for Simon Pulleyn’s edition of Odyssey, Book I, and two maps for James O’Hara’s commentary on Aeneid, Book VIII.  Illustration of Richard Talbert’s Eitner lecture at the David Rumsey Map Center called for the delicate task of identifying and marking routes attributed to named travelers on sample sheets of Richard Kiepert’s Karte von Kleinasien.

The Center continued its longstanding collaboration with the Pleiades Project at New York University, developing partnerships with several individuals and organizations to expand the focus of the Pleiades gazetteer both spatially (into the Middle and Far East) and temporally (into Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages).

After several years of work by five successive directors of the Center and many others, it has finally been possible to release the magnificent wall map Asia Minor in the Second Century C.E. (1:750,000).  This is a larger-scale successor to the painstaking map by John Anderson (1903) and to its partial revision by William Calder and George Bean (1958).  Offered as a free digital download, the wall map has gained wide interest among archaeologists, cartographers, historians, and scholars of religion; it may also be printed (80 x 50 ins full-size).  The Center has now taken the further step of establishing a new series entitled Maps for Texts: it is designed to provide accurate, high-quality maps for a variety of ancient writings which merit that enhancement (although probably in most cases this was always lacking).  The series has been inaugurated with four maps to accompany Ptolemy’s Table of Important Cities; two of the four adopt Ptolemy’s own projection using a base kindly shared by Alfred Stückelberger and colleagues, who drew it for their 2006 Basel edition of the Geography.  All four maps are offered as free digital downloads.  Next in the series, and close to completion, is an interactive web-map of Hierokles’ Synekdemos,  Further texts due to be mapped in the series include Arrian’s Periplus of the Black Sea, the geographical books (2–6) of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, the Parthian Stations of Isidore of Charax, and the papyrus record of the journey of Theophanes.

This year the Center launched a new partnership for scholarship in the public interest, focusing on the role of mapping in protecting cultural heritage from human destruction.  Working with the United States Committee for the Blue Shield, the Center expanded and developed “no-strike lists”, inventories of cultural heritage sites (such as schools, libraries and archaeological excavations) in active or potential war zones.  USCBS coordinates with the United States and allied militaries to protect these sites from inadvertent or malicious destruction.  The hard work of Alexander Griffin, in his senior year the Center’s first Cultural Heritage Protection intern, was indispensable to developing this partnership in collaboration with the History Department.

The work of the Center’s other staff members has also been excellent – two graduate students (Lindsay Holman and Peter Raleigh), and two undergraduates (Daniel Hawke and Laura Roberson).  After two years as assistant in the Center, Daniel is now graduating, and will be much missed.  So, too, will former Director Ryan Horne, whose continuing expert assistance during his postdoctoral fellowship has been invaluable; Ryan is moving to a similar position at the University of Pittsburgh.  Gabriel Moss, having most successfully completed a second year as Director, is now stepping down in order to return to the classroom.  He will be succeeded by Lindsay Holman.

Gabriel Moss

Richard Talbert


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