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Visualizing and modeling ancient landscapes

February 6, 2013 in Interest, News

Several volumes have arrived in UNC’s library recently that are exciting for those interested in approaches to modeling the past and collecting data about the nature of settled landscapes in antiquity. Focusing on aerial photography, terrestrial and airborne laser scanning, and other dynamic topics, these volumes remind us of the value of studying terrain in which humans have lived – both for the sake of the land forms themselves and also for the evidence of human activity preserved therein. This is particularly true of the need to exploit the vast legacy of twentieth century aerial photography data to mine information from them, in particular for cases where the landscape has changed substantially over the course of the past 50 to 70 years, as well as moving forward with the advanced technologies that now enable digital terrain mapping and modeling.

  • G. Ceraudo. ed. 2010. 100 anni di archeologia aerea in Italia : atti del convegno internazionale, Roma, 15-17 aprile 2009. Rome: Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato. ISBN-13: 9788884313768.
  • W. S. Hanson and I. A. Oltean. 2013. Archaeology from Historical Aerial and Satellite Archives. New York: Springer. ISBN-13: 978-1-4614-4505-0.
  • R. S. Opitz and D. Cowley. 2013. Interpreting Archaeological Topography: Lasers, 3D Data, Observation, Visualisation and Applications. Oxford: Oxbow. ISBN-13: 978-1842175163.

Archaeology from Historical Aerial and Satellite ArchivesInterpreting Archaeological Topography: Lasers, 3D Data, Observation, Visualisation and ApplicationsArcheoAerea-4e5-cop


New title of interest: Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography’s Forgotten Past

January 25, 2013 in Interest, Publication

Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography's Forgotten Past (Tauris Historical Geography Series)

Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography’s Forgotten Past (Tauris Historical Geography Series); William A. Koelsch. 2012; ISBN-13: 978-1780760643.

A recent publication of interest has appeared from I.B. Tauris – Geography and the Classical World: Unearthing Historical Geography’s Forgotten Past (Tauris Historical Geography Series) by William A. Koelsch. From the publisher’s blurb: “Geography and the Classical World is the first full-length study to explore the emergence of classical geography – the geographical study of the ancient Mediterranean, in particular the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome. With adventurous beginnings in the Society of Dilettanti, the subject flourished in both Britain and America, as geographers, explorers, classicists and historians all contributed to its rise. But in the 1920s it went into decline, and an important part of the geographical and classical tradition was lost. In recovering this field of inquiry that once lay at the heart of both geography and the classical tradition, Professor Koelsch has written a pioneering work of outstanding scholarship that will be of interest to historical geographers, classicists, historians and students of the classical tradition.”


AWMC and Pelagios

January 15, 2013 in API, Interest, Pleiades Project

AWMC is happy to formally join the Pelagios network. Pelagios is a networking site whereby linked data for the ancient world is accessible via the common denominator of Pleiades id numbers. These stable identifiers allow many different types of online data – geographic, epigraphic, archaeological, art historical, textual – and metadata to be aggregated into virtual networks linked through place names (and the aforementioned numbers). The potential of this networking is enormous and AWMC is pleased to join with other colleagues already participating in this initiative. Read more about the AWMC and Pelagios collaboration on the Pelagios blog. One may browse the AWMC information in Pelagios here.


The Romans From Village to Empire: A History of Rome from Earliest Times to Constantine (Boatwright, Gargola, & Talbert, 2004) now available in Czech

December 20, 2012 in Interest, Publication


Dějiny římské rise: od nejranějších časů po Konstantina Velikého
(Boatwright Mary T., Gargola Daniel J., Talbert Richard J. A. 2004) ISBN-13:978-80-247-3168-1

A Czech language edition of The Romans From Village to Empire: A History of Rome from Earliest Times to Constantine (Boatwright, Gargola, & Talbert, 2004) is now available from Grada Publishing.

Information on the Czech edition:

TItle: Dějiny římské rise: od nejranějších časů po Konstantina Velikého



Talbert reviews Geography in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge, 2012)

December 12, 2012 in Interest, Publication

Geography in Classical Antiquity

D. Dueck. 2012. Geography in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge University Press.

Richard Talbert recently reviewed D. Dueck. 2012. Geography in Classical Antiquity (Key Themes in Ancient History) Cambridge University Press. (ISBN-13: 9780521120258). Check it out at BMCR.

Publisher’s Details:

  • 4 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 160 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.26 kg

Addendum (1-March 2013): review by G. Irby in Ancient History Bulletin.


Encyclopedia of Ancient History now published

December 5, 2012 in Interest, Publication

The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (R. Bagnall et al. edd. 2012; 13 v. Wiley-Blackwell) ISBN-13: 9781405179355.

The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (R. Bagnall et al. edd. 2012; Wiley-Blackwell) is now available and will offer both print and online editions. The work collects “over 5,000 original entries spanning the late Bronze Age through the seventh century CE. Entries extend to all Mediterranean civilizations, including the Near East and Egypt, and represent an unprecedented level of coverage of the ancient world” in 13 print volumes. AWMC created original map content to accompany the articles in the EAH. More information is available on the publisher’s website.


AWMC API goes live

December 3, 2012 in API, E-resource, Interest, News, Site Information

The Ancient World Mapping Center is pleased to announce the rollout of a new application programming interface (API) that allows users to interact directly with the center’s database. The API can be found here and documentation related to the API can be found at the ‘API Documentation’ tab. The API allows the user access to all of the center’s geographical information, both physical and cultural. This would allow the user, for instance, to pull geographic data from the center’s database directly into a standalone mapping project. Just as with Antiquity À-la-carte, the data is released under the terms of the Creative Commons License. AWMC welcomes (and encourages!) user feedback.


Imperial Rome AD 193 to 284: The Critical Century (Edinburgh 2012)

November 14, 2012 in Interest, Publication

Imperial Rome AD 193 to 284: The Critical Century (2012; ISBN-13: 9780748620500)

Clifford Ando’s Imperial Rome AD 193 to 284: The Critical Century has appeared from Edinburgh University Press (2012) and features map content generated by AWMC.

From the publisher’s website: “The Roman empire during the period framed by the accession of Septimus Severus in 193 and the rise of Diocletian in 284 has conventionally been regarded as one of ‘crisis’. Between 235 and 284, at least eighteen men held the throne of the empire, for an average of less than three years, a reckoning which does not take into account all the relatives and lieutenants with whom those men shared power. Compared to the century between the accession of Nerva and the death of Commodus, this appears to be a period of near unintelligibility. The middle of the century also witnessed catastrophic, if temporary, ruptures in the territorial integrity of the empire. At slightly different times, large portions of the eastern and western halves of the empire passed under the control of powers and principalities who assumed the mantle of Roman government and exercised meaningful and legitimate juridical, political and military power over millions. The success and longevity of those political formations reflected local responses to the collapse of Roman governmental power in the face of extraordinary pressure on its borders. Even those regions that remained Roman were subjected to depredation and pillage by invading armies. The Roman peace, which had become in the last instance the justification for empire, had been shattered. In this pioneering history Clifford Ando describes and integrates the contrasting histories of different parts of the empire and assesses the impacts of administrative, political and religious change.”

Publication Date: Jun 2012 | Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm | Extent: 272 pages | Illustrations: 23 bw Ill., 5 maps | ISBN: 9780748620500 | Series: The Edinburgh History of Ancient Rome



Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome (Chicago 2012; ed. R. J. A. Talbert)

November 5, 2012 in Interest, News, Publication

 Ancient Perspectives

Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome

The University of Chicago Press is about to release Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, edited by Richard J. A. Talbert.

From the publisher’s website: “Ancient Perspectives encompasses a vast arc of space and time—Western Asia to North Africa and Europe from the third millennium BCE to the fifth century CE—to explore mapmaking and worldviews in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In each society, maps served as critical economic, political, and personal tools, but there was little consistency in how and why they were made. Much like today, maps in antiquity meant very different things to different people. Ancient Perspectives presents an ambitious, fresh overview of cartography and its uses. The seven chapters range from broad-based analyses of mapping in Mesopotamia and Egypt to a close focus on Ptolemy’s ideas for drawing a world map based on the theories of his Greek predecessors at Alexandria. The remarkable accuracy of Mesopotamian city-plans is revealed, as is the creation of maps by Romans to support the proud claim that their emperor’s rule was global in its reach. By probing the instruments and techniques of both Greek and Roman surveyors, one chapter seeks to uncover how their extraordinary planning of roads, aqueducts, and tunnels was achieved. Even though none of these civilizations devised the means to measure time or distance with precision, they still conceptualized their surroundings, natural and man-made, near and far, and felt the urge to record them by inventive means that this absorbing volume reinterprets and compares.”

The volume includes essays authored by Georgia L. Irby, Alexander Jones, Michael Lewis, David O’Connor, Francesca Rochberg, Benet Salway, and Richard J.A. Talbert.

280 pages | 9 color plates, 82 halftones, 34 line drawings, 2 tables | 7 x 10 | © 2012 The Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography

ISBN-13: 978-0-226-78937-8


Cultural heritage online

October 19, 2012 in E-resource, Interest, News

Screenshot from UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Recently a number of excellent online geographic compendia to archaeological sites have begun to appear on the web. These sites take advantage of the possibilities of linked data and the functionality of GIS-oriented interfaces, allowing the user to access both cartographic (spatial) and contextual information. Not only are such sites stimulating – both visually and intellectually – but they provide a vital service in creating online compendia that allow a wider public to know about and appreciate cultural heritage sites and, in particular, to be made aware of the degree to which many such sites find themselves in peril, whether due to neglect, open warfare or diminishing budgetary resources. Such compendia can, hopefully, encourage all of us to be better stewards of our cultural heritage and, perhaps, the web can be a place to cut across nationalistic boundaries. Chuck Jones recently profiled online e-resources for maps on his AWOL blog – a valuable listing that everyone should bookmark. Furthermore, our partner project Pleaides and our colleagues at the Pelagios Project continue to lead the way in creating stable identifiers for linked ancient world data, enabling online collaboration in the form of a geographic lingua franca. Hopefully stewardship – and its increasingly important place online – benefits from the efforts to develop and maintain these resources.

We’d like to here highlight a few notable sites in the vein discussed above.

  1. La carte nationale des sites archéologiques et des monuments historiques, Tunisie; La carte nationale des sites archéologiques et des monuments historiques : feuilles 1/50 000
  2. MEGAJordan: A State-of-the-Art System for Jordan’s Archaeological Sites
  3. Mappa dei Monumenti del Centro Storico di Roma
  4. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  5. Portable Antiquities Scheme