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2018-2019 Annual Report

June 4, 2019 in Report

5-1-2018 to 4-30-2019

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

This has been a very productive year for the Center in a notable variety of ways.  Two especially satisfying highlights were a conference co-organized with departments at Duke University, and the implementation of a working partnership with Rome’s Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali.

Maps were produced on commission for publication in articles and monographs across an unusually wide range this year. The six maps for Jamie Kreiner’s Legions of Pigs: Ecology and Ethics in the Early Medieval West (Yale University Press) extended the Center’s regular timeframe to 1000 C.E., and its spatial frame to Scandinavia and Iceland.  The frame was also tested by the map of pre-modern south India produced for Leah Comeau’s Material Devotion in a South Indian Poetic World.  Challenging in other respects were six maps for two volumes on ancient warfare and sieges edited by Jeremy Armstrong, one map and two city plans for John Friend’s The Athenian Ephebeia in the Fourth Century B.C.. and two maps for a biography of Theodosius I by Mark Hebblewhite.

Special effort was made to complete three static maps in the Maps for Texts series, all released online between June and December 2018. The most taxing of these, and the largest (85 x 50 ins), is The Black Sea Described by Arrian around 130 C.E., produced at 1:750,000 scale to match the Center’s Wall Map Asia Minor in the Second Century C.E., together with a directory of places marked.  Because of the focused geographic coverage, a far more generous scale (1:100,000) was feasible for the map Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplous of the Bosporus.  By its very nature, the map tracing Theophanes’ Journeys between Hermopolis and Antioch in the early fourth century C.E. (detailed in Rylands Papyri) is more schematic.  As the next addition to the series, the Center is considering a map that plots the spread of Catholic and Donatist bishoprics across North Africa as documented by the record of the Carthage ‘conference’ in 411 C.E.  Gabriel Moss and Ryan Horne have continued their work on an interactive map to accompany the forthcoming translation of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History Books 2 to 6 by Brian Turner and Richard Talbert.

Work for a revision of the latter’s Atlas of Classical History increased in volume and variety.  Kimberly Oliver and Peter Streilein both drafted maps of regions of the Roman Empire, while Hania Zanib developed city- and battle-plans.  With Lindsay Holman’s mentorship all three students gained impressive mastery of cartographic skills.  Their results demonstrate how rewardingly the pre-digital maps of the Atlas can now be enhanced.

Richard Talbert’s book Challenges of Mapping the Classical World was published by Routledge.  Preparatory work for his study of the mapping of Asia Minor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries continued.  Leah Hinshaw completed the formidable task of identifying and annotating the changes of many kinds introduced for each edition (up to four) of all twenty-four sheets of Richard Kiepert’s Karte von Kleinasien.  Peter Raleigh made good progress in matching those sheets with the bewildering mass of derivative maps produced by the British, Greek, Italian and Ottoman military authorities.

When the work accomplished for the United States Committee for the Blue Shield reached a suitable stopping-point in the fall, the decision was taken to halt there because this heavy commitment could no longer be sustained satisfactorily along with other initiatives.  The Center maintained its ongoing collaboration with the Pleiades Project at New York University (pleiades.stoa.org); both Lindsay Holman and Gabriel Moss continue to serve on the project’s editorial board.

Stock of the Center’s seven Wall Maps for the Ancient World is exhausted, and the publisher Routledge reluctantly decided against reprinting because the cost for such large sheets has become prohibitive.  With the rights consequently reverting to the Center, it has made all seven available online, after minor revision to one, The World of the New Testament and the Journeys of Paul.

The weekend conference Digital Cartography: New Maps, Ancient History – co-organized with Duke’s Departments of Classical Studies and of Art, Art History and Visual Studies – fulfilled the hope of attracting graduate students and junior faculty at multiple institutions (US, Canada, Czech Republic) to discuss the integration of GIS technology and cartography into their research and their teaching.  Lively, thought-provoking interchange developed about the ethical and practical implications of using this technology in the field.

The academic and technological contexts from which the Center sprang originally, and within which it functions today, featured prominently in the wide-ranging panel “Mapping the Classical World Since 1869: Past and Future Directions,” which Richard Talbert was invited to organize for the Society for Classical Studies 2019 sesquicentennial meeting in San Diego, CA.  He, together with Lindsay Holman and former Director Tom Elliott, were among the speakers; the texts of all the panel papers may be read on the Center’s website.  For the Archaeological Institute of America at this jointly held meeting Lindsay Holman and Richard Talbert also contributed “Maps for Texts: An Expanding Ancient World Mapping Center Resource” at the poster session.

At UNC the tour of the Center and overview of its initiatives which Lindsay Holman was asked to offer participants in Raleigh 400: A Conference on Sir Walter Raleigh Four Hundred Years After His Death (September 2018) gained an enthusiastic reception.  In April 2019, for a Digital Humanities Round Table at Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands), she delivered an invited paper exploring the applications and limitations of using digital cartography for the study of the ancient world with particular reference to the Center’s Maps for Texts.

Under the terms of the partnership agreement made with the Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali, Roma Capitale, the Center commissioned a Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada) team headed by Prof. George Bevan to create the first-ever ultra high-resolution photogrammetric image of the wall in Rome on which the Great Marble Map (Forma Urbis) was mounted in the Severan period.  Despite the intervention of successive obstacles great and small (by no means all forseeable), this remarkable fundamental step towards transforming productive study of the Map was successfully accomplished.  The collaboration of Prof. Elizabeth Wolfram Thill (Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis) for the purpose was invaluable (see further her paper for the “Mapping the Classical World Since 1869” panel mentioned above).  Thereafter the quality of the wall-image soon demonstrated how essential it is also to create 3-D images of corresponding quality for each of the approximately 1,200 surviving Map fragments.  As a further dimension of their partnership, the Center anticipates securing the Sovrintendenza’s authorization to commission this major advance, which should again involve Elizabeth Wolfram Thill as well as expert IUPUI colleagues.

This year the Center’s workforce of two graduate students (Gabriel Moss, Peter Raleigh) and four undergraduates (Leah Hinshaw, Kimberly Oliver, Peter Streilein, Hania Zanib) performed so ably that the three departures on graduation now imminent cause severe and much regretted loss – Peter Raleigh (PhD), Leah Hinshaw and Kimberly Oliver (both BA).  Fortunately, Lindsay Holman will continue as Director for 2019-2020.

Lindsay Holman

Richard Talbert




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