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2000-2001 Annual Report

January 24, 2018 in Report


In May, project director and editor Richard Talbert joined two experts from MapQuest.com and a designer from Princeton University Press to oversee the press run for the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World at Eurografica’s printing plant near Vincenza, Italy. Since the presses run 24 hours a day, with a new ‘form’ emerging for inspection every two hours on average, this task permitted little sleep for a week, but the high quality of presentation achieved for all 180 folio map pages is evident in the finished product. The Atlas was published in September, and has been received with acclaim; press coverage locally, nationally and internationally proved extensive. With its mission completed, the Classical Atlas Committee of the sponsor, the American Philological Association (chaired by Richard Talbert), held its final meeting in January. In February, the Atlas volume won an award for professional/scholarly publishing from the Association of American Publishers. In less than a year, the print run of 5,000 is selling out, and a reprint has been ordered. The printed two-volume set of the accompanying 1,400-page Map-by-Map Directory has likewise sold faster than anticipated (this is an optional extra to the CD-ROM version automatically supplied with every Atlas). The H.W. Goldsmith, A.W. Mellon and Joukowsky Family Foundations each contributed $25,000 to meeting the project’s final costs.

As the Barrington Atlas neared completion, it became clear to everyone involved that the tremendous step forward represented by the Atlas was, in fact, just the critical first step toward an exciting array of teaching and research opportunities that now lie open for investigation, thanks to ongoing advances in technology, historical scholarship, and archaeological survey. The missing component was a permanent academic center chartered to promote cartography, geographic information science and historical geography as essential disciplines within the field of ancient studies. In 1998 Prof. Talbert first outlined to APA his vision of such a Center. The Association’s Board of Directors was eager to be involved with the initiative, but was not in a position to take the lead in establishing it. By contrast, when the possibility was raised, the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-CH enthusiastically offered to take this lead. With additional financial and administrative support from the Department of History, the Ancient World Mapping Center was established in August 2000. Under the leadership of Director, Tom Elliott, the Center occupies ideal rent-free space on the fifth floor of Davis Library, specially renovated and equipped for the purpose. The Center is already embarking on an exciting array of research and outreach activities, which are summarized on its web site at http://www.unc.edu/depts/awmc. Plans for providing training support to college and secondary teachers are proceeding in cooperation with the History Department’s Project for Historical Education and the North Carolina Classical Association.

In October, Professor Talbert and Mr. Elliott made a joint presentation on the development and production of the Barrington Atlas at the North American Cartographic Information Society annual meeting, Knoxville, TN. In November, Risa Palm, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences hosted a celebration in Wilson Library to mark the successful publication of the Barrington Atlas and the establishment of the AWMC. This celebration, supported by the Departments of History and Classics, featured remarks by Chancellor James Moeser, Dean Palm, and Professor Talbert. April saw the preparation of a proposal to the Challenge Grant program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The AWMC is seeking $500,000 from the NEH to form the cornerstone of a $2.5 million endowment; if approved, the funds will be released to the endowment at a ratio of one dollar to every four raised from other sources. The goal of the endowment is to secure permanent, non-appropriated funding for the core staff, operations, and outreach activities of the Center, thereby insulating it from fluctuations in annual appropriate budgets and freeing College funds for other initiatives. The AWMC received excellent support from the College in preparation of the proposal and has a commitment from Dean Palm and the Arts and Sciences Foundation for the fundraising effort. To learn more about the endowment drive, please contact the Center’s Director at awmc@unc.edu

Richard Talbert


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