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2022-2023 Annual Report

June 28, 2023 in E-resource, Interest, News, Report, Site Information

5-1-2022 to 4-30-2023 ANCIENT WORLD MAPPING CENTER (

The plan was that this should be a transitional year with minimal staff dedicated primarily to completing projects and readying the Center for a new phase. In large measure that goal has been achieved, with a high level of activity throughout the year, and several projects now thankfully finished or almost – in particular, the revised Atlas of Classical History co-edited by Richard Talbert, Lindsay Holman and Benet Salway. This underwent its arduous paging and proofing stages during the summer and fall. However, once all components in final form (xiv + 250 pages, 142 full-color maps) were eventually dispatched to printers in the US and Europe just before Christmas, Routledge’s publication of the Atlas soon had to be set back a month (to March 2023), because the US advance copies were found to be all in grayscale; so this flawed print-run had to be replaced by one in color. Altogether the revision provides powerful testimony to how rewardingly scholarship, resources and technology have advanced since the original edition appeared in 1985 (when color printing was out of the question !).

Also completed were all 28 maps made for the major collaborative work Geographers of the Ancient Greek World, edited by Graham Shipley; proofs are expected from Cambridge University Press during summer 2023. Around that time, too, the Center should release – in its online Maps for Texts series – Catholic and Donatist Bishoprics in North Africa around the Time of the Conference of Carthage, 411 C.E. (1:750,000 scale), together with two concisely annotated lists: Bishoprics Marked on the Map, and Bishoprics Missing from the Map for Lack of Evidence. This exceptionally extensive and complex map stems in the first instance from Serge Lancel’s magisterial analysis in his Actes de la Conférence de Carthage en 411 vol. IV (1991) and from the Barrington Atlas; the map also reflects subsequent scholarship and fresh discoveries, as well as integrating relevant entries in pleiades. Begun by Miguel Vargas and Lindsay Holman, the map now approaches completion thanks notably to expert advice given by Profs. Bruce Hitchner (Tufts University, MA) and Anna Leone (University of Durham, U.K.).

Intense effort enabled the Center to prepare, organize and deliver to Princeton University Library’s Geospatial and Information Center the several hundred maps and associated materials to be presented in the joint virtual exhibition Late Ottoman Turkey in Princeton’s Forgotten Maps, 1883-1923. This was launched in December as planned, with an impressive selection of both scans and original maps displayed at the Library, and an introductory talk there by Richard Talbert, accessible online. Even so, the great quantity of items to be presented in the innovative StoryMaps format by the Library’s already stretched staff made it impractical to launch the entire virtual exhibition as a single item. Instead, a division into five successive parts was devised, the first three of which can already be viewed, with the final two to follow during summer 2023. The three present: Kiepert maps; British mapping of Ottoman Turkey; and Greek and Italian mapping of Ottoman Turkey. The final two parts present mainly Ottoman maps. Earlier, the Center prepared the many figures for Richard Talbert’s related article “The exploration of Asia Minor: Kiepert maps unmentioned by Ronald Syme and Louis Robert,” published in the online journal History of Classical Scholarship vol. 4.

Two commissions were completed during the year: maps for Jeffrey Smith, The Corinthian War, 395-387 BC: The Twilight of Sparta’s Empire (Pen & Sword), and for Stephen Mitchell, The Christians of Phrygia from Rome to the Turkish Conquest (Brill). Two other commissions were nearing completion at year’s end: maps for John Donahue and Lee Brice (eds.), Brill’s Companion to Diet and Logistics in Greek and Roman Warfare, and for Michael Maas and Fay Yarbrough (eds.), Knowing Indigeneity in Rome and America: Comparative Perspectives in the Imperial Interface (University of Oklahoma Press). Permissions granted for use of the Center’s maps included one to Lauren Curtis for Imprints of Dance in Greek and Roman Antiquity / Improntas de Danza Antigua (UAM Ediciones), and another for Magarethe Billerbeck’s edition of Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplous of the Bosporus (Schwabe); for licenses to adapt maps, one to Marcos Moyses for Emperors and Rhetoricians: Panegyric, Communication, and Power in the Fourth-Century Roman Empire (University of California Press). Demand for the Center’s Wall Maps has remained active, as also for its Asia Minor in the Second Century C.E.

By good fortune, a search for an ancient historian to join the Department of History faculty was at last authorized this year, and Henry Gruber appointed as assistant professor. While enthusiastic about the Center, he is understandably hesitant to commit to involvement with it at once. Richard Talbert will therefore remain in charge for 2023-2024, to be assisted again by Rachel Sarvey, who merits gratitude and praise for her versatile skills, creativity and perseverance. Talbert and Sarvey will now be joined (remotely, part-time) by Dr. Gabriel Moss, former Center director. His return is warmly welcomed. Among other benefits, it will facilitate the recruitment and training of several student assistants once again, and the resumption of a fuller program.

Richard Talbert

Rachel Sarvey

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Licensing Adjustments

June 8, 2016 in E-resource, News, Site Information

As part of a broader project to remove needless restrictions on our data (see last week’s changes to A-la-Carte), as of June 8, 2016, all shapefiles on our Resources page are now available under the Open Database License (ODbL 1.0).  This replaces the previous Creative Commons 3.0 Non-Commercial License, and provides users significantly more freedom to use our data in any and all forms of research and publication.  As always, please direct any questions or suggestions to

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New Public Map Tiles and Antiquity À-la-carte 3.0 Beta

February 3, 2014 in Antiquity À-la-carte, API, Benthos, E-resource, Interest, News, Pleiades Project, Site Information

All layers

The Base Map tiles with road overlays

The AWMC is proud to announce the release of a series of geographically accurate, publicly accessible map tiles ( ), suitable for use in nearly any web mapping application or GIS software suite. These tiles are hosted on Mapbox servers courtesy of ISAW, and are created by Ryan Horne from AWMC data produced by Richard TalbertJeffrey Becker, Ryan Horne, Ross Twele, Audrey JoRay Belanger, Steve Burges, Luke Hagemann, Ashley Lee, and others.

Offering the first (and at the time of this writing, only) geographically accurate base map of the ancient world, the AWMC tiles conform to the broad periodization presented in the Barrington Atlas, with different selectable water levels for the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Late Antique Periods. In addition, we also model inland water, rivers, and other geographical features as they appeared in antiquity. The base tiles are culturally agnostic, allowing them to be used to represent the physical environment of nearly any ancient society in the Mediterranean world. In addition to the base map and geographical tiles we also present the Roman road network, generally following the Barrington Atlas with additional work by the AWMC. Like all of our other electronic offerings, our new tiles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) license and remain absolutely free for personal, academic, and non-commercial use.


The area surrounding Miletus with different water levels based on time period

For guidelines on how to use the tiles in an application, please visit These tiles are a “living” data set, and will be constantly refined to reflect the ongoing work of the AWMC. We welcome feedback on any aspect of this work and we encourage the community to suggest enhancements, fixes, or any other comments on our dedicated site.

You can see the tiles in action in our API (see, for example, the Urban Area of Rome), the new Beta Version of Antiquity à la Carte 3.0, and at the Pleiades Project.






Southern Spain with different base layers and road tile overlays in À-la-carte 3.0

Along with our tiles, The Ancient World Mapping Center is also releasing a beta version of Antiquity à la Carte 3.0 ( The application, engineered by Ryan Horne, builds upon the two previous iterations of À-la-carte, which appeared in Spring 2012 and October of the same year.  Continuing to draw upon the work of the Ancient World Mapping Center and the Pleiades Project, the updated version will incorporate the new AWMC Mapping tiles, along with the expanded features first introduced in v. 2.0. Until the beta version is stable with all of the previous functionality enabled, À-la-carte version 2.0 will remain operational at . In the meantime, we welcome any feedback on the beta version as we endeavor to create an application that is useful to the ancient world community. We are particularly excited that our new tiles allow us to feature modern data alongside our ancient offerings, which will open many new possibilities and applications for À-la-carte.

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Registration Questions

August 8, 2013 in Site Information

We have received several queries about registration for the site and its effect on application functionality. User registration is for WordPress portions of the website only (i.e. commenting on posts, creating groups, increased interaction with the blog, etc) and was implemented to cut down on spam and bot attacks against the server.

Registration has no effect on our applications, the API, or the free download of our data, as none of these applications have the ability to distinguish between an anonymous and a registered user. These applications will always have the same basic functionality for anyone that uses our site.

For those wishing to register and interact with the blog portions of the site, registration will be enabled after August 19th.


AWMC Accuracy Assessments in Pleiades

June 10, 2013 in Interest, Pleiades Project, Site Information

in0006AWMC’s partners at the Pleiades Project have created a range of accuracy assessments related to geographic content derived from the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. These accuracy assessments are tailored to the scale and project of the BAtlas and will be of great use to AWMC and its database editing efforts, particularly with respect to physical geography derived from the BAtlas (coastline, rivers, islands, mountains, etc.). The ratings relate to the positional accuracy of data; positional accuracy in GIS terms is a quantifiable value and represents either the positional difference between two geospatial layers of information or between the geospatial layer itself and reality.

Read more about these accuracy ratings at these links:



Introducing Benthos

February 15, 2013 in Benthos, Interest, News, Site Information

benthos1AWMC has launched a Beta version of its new project, Benthos: Digital Atlas of Ancient Waters. This project aims to map not only the physical geography of ancient Mediterranean waters, but also to map cultural and historical information related to transportation, communication, and commerce. The initial sample includes data for Mediterranean ports, shipwrecks, and a preliminary attempt at creating network maps for point-of-origin for some elements of commercial wares that were included in the cargo of sunken ships. AWMC feels that a platform such as Benthos has great potential both as a standalone application, but that its value is increased greatly by interfacing with other cognate projects already online. AWMC welcomes community feedback on this new project, as well as inquiries from potential collaborators and data partners.


Resources for ancient world geography

February 6, 2013 in News, Site Information

AWMC has added a page of Resources for ancient world geography to this site. This listing cannot ever hope to be exhaustive, but rather aims to provide basic list of print and electronic resources for ancient world geography.


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.


Launching New AWMC Website!

October 3, 2012 in News, Site Information

Recently the Center has been able to acquire its own server, so this is the ideal opportunity to revise and upgrade the website now launched here. The new site provides a robust platform to host the Center’s activities, especially its online initiatives Antiquity À-la-carte and the newly conceived Benthos project. Please explore and enjoy. You are encouraged to join the AWMC community and participate by registering yourself as a user of the site. The Center can only function with much valued support from donors. If you too would like to make a contribution, please visit the Support AWMC page.

Special thanks to UNC ITS Research Computing, especially Joe Ryan and Steven Fishback, for their assistance in setting up the server infrastructure.