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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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