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2004-2005 Annual Report

January 26, 2018 in Report


The College of Arts and Sciences, together with the Departments of History and Classics, continue to provide essential support for core operations of the Ancient World Mapping Center while our endowment fund matures. These bridging funds permit the Center to expand its unique role in promoting cartography, historical geography and geographic information science worldwide as essential disciplines within the field of ancient studies. Moreover, this support ensures that the Center will live up to the evident potential acknowledged by generous endowment contributions from Carolina alumni like Jim Alexandre and Mark Clein, as well as the Stavros S. Niarchos, Barrington, Gladys Krieble Delmas and Samuel H. Kress foundations, which are matched by funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. What follows here is a brief summary of the year’s advances.

This past spring, TOM ELLIOTT contributed to the History Department’s undergraduate teaching mission by leading a 120-student section of History 14, which surveys the ancient histories of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Incorporating a significant geographic component into the course – and benefiting greatly from the assistance of two outstanding teaching assistants (Jacob Burt and Joshua Westgard) – Dr. Elliott enjoyed leading his students through 8,000 years of history on three different continents. Continuing the Center’s tradition of high-quality contributions to pedagogy at Carolina and beyond, Dr. Elliott presented a paper at the spring meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South in which he outlined the Center’s plans for a new, high-quality series of classroom wall maps for ancient history. The presentation, together with a large prototype map of “Julio-Claudian Italy,” generated significant interest and positive comments. The Center has opened preliminary collaboration discussions with the cartographic unit at MapQuest.com. Dr. Elliott’s paper is scheduled for publication in The Occasional Papers of the American Philological Association’s Committee on Ancient History. The prototype map was also a central focal point of the display mounted by Richard Talbert for National Humanities Advocacy Day 2005 in Washington, D.C.

The Center’s contributions to research also accelerated during the past year. Work in progress includes: digital and print publications of ancient documents, a project to map the incidence of identifiable Celtic place names and personal names in surviving Greek and Roman documents, and a potential project involving Roman roads in Asia Minor. In conjunction with these projects, Dr. Elliott presented at workshops and participated in panel discussions at New York University (epigraphic documents from Aphrodisias in Turkey), the British School in Rome (databases of ancient Roman documents) and Duke University (the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri). He also played key roles in the planning of colloquia to be held in the coming year at Brown University and the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. The Center also expanded its involvement in Talbert’s research project on Peutinger’s Roman map by providing computational resources, technical oversight and cartographic development. One of the Center’s undergraduate cartographic technicians is presently collaborating with Talbert and Elliott to produce a high-quality modern map detailing the ancient map’s content. Procedures developed at the Center for digitizing the maps and data from the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World are now moving into an operational mode; distribution discussions with Princeton University Press and the American Philological Association are slated for fall 2005. Dr. Elliott has opened preliminary consultation with staff members at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where he has been named an External Fellow, on a collaborative effort to produce high quality maps of the city of Rome. The Center continues to seek grant funding for the Pleiades Project, which will create an international community of scholars, teachers, students and enthusiasts to collaborate in updating and expanding the spatial and historical reference information maintained by the Center.

Between 1 July 2004 and 1 June 2005, the Map Center’s website logged over 300,000 discrete visitors (not counting automated web search systems), with a weekday average of nearly 1,000 visitors per day. As in previous years, these visitors hailed from all over the globe, with the top ten countries being the U.S.A., Hungary, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. The most visited portion of the website remains the “Maps for Students” section, which provides free, high-quality maps for educational purposes. In the past year, Dr. Elliott added a number of the maps he prepared for his History 14 class to the collection. We regularly receive emails from “Maps for Students” users, suggesting new maps to include and thanking us for the materials we make available, for example:

I would like to thank you for publishing on-line maps of such high quality. I study archaeology at Belgrade University, in Serbia. My university is poorly supplied, and I couldn’t get a precise idea of the late Roman empire in geographical scale until now. Thank you so much for your help. – M.D

Tom Elliott, Director


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