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Annual Report 2015-2016

August 2, 2016 in Report

5-1-15 to 4-30-16

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

For 2015-2016, the seemingly routine annual claim that the past year has been busier than ever is no exaggeration for sure.  Not only did an exceptional number of commissioned maps achieve completion, but the Center also made substantial headway on several research projects as well as mounting its first conference.

Particularly significant among completed commissions is a set of nine maps for the fifth edition of the much-used Oxford Classical Dictionary, the first of its editions to be digital-only, and the first to include any maps!  The set – designed by Center Director Gabriel Moss – ranges from the spread of Greek colonization to the administrative divisions of Constantine’s empire.  Graduate assistant Alexandra Locking produced ten maps for Mercury’s Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World, a collaborative volume co-edited by Fred Naiden and Richard Talbert, due for publication by Oxford University Press in 2017.  Other notable commissions included maps for the first-ever English translation and commentary on Dionysius of Byzantium, Anaplous Bospori (Thomas Russell, Oxford University Press); for Brill’s Companion to Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean (ed. Timothy Howe and Lee Brice); for a display of ancient coins at the University Museum, Oxford MS; and for Civitates, a board game designed for high-school students learning Latin.  Plans developed last year with the Bible and Gospel Trust, UK, led to the production and delivery of a dozen maps to illustrate the bible.  Trevor Bryce’s Atlas of the Ancient Near East and Persia from Prehistoric Times to the Roman Imperial Period, for which the Center made 130 full-color maps last year, has now been published by Routledge, an impressive volume.

In April the Center held its first conference, on the theme Mapping the Past: G.I.S. Approaches to Ancient History.  This well-attended occasion – with keynote address by the Center’s first director, Dr Tom Elliott (NYU) – provided a productive forum in which twelve speakers from North America and Europe shared approaches and techniques for using geography and digital tools to study the ancient past.  The technology training workshop G.I.S. for Historians organized in connection with the conference filled to capacity.  All presentations were filmed and are publicly available on the Center’s new YouTube channel: (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEr92C0pVw6-CeM9krzNs2Q)

Two ongoing research initiatives were advanced: the map of Hispania at 1:750,000 scale, and digital manipulation of Forma Urbis Romae fragments in collaboration with Prof. Ryan Shaw and graduate assistant Will Knauth in the School of Information and Library Science.  Further initiatives were launched, in particular the creation of digital maps to add a cartographic dimension to Ptolemy’s Table of Important Cities and to the Synekdemos of Hierocles.   Maps to illustrate travel accounts were also started, among them Egeria’s pilgrimages and the journey of Theophanes from Hermopolis in Egypt to Syrian Antioch.

The Center’s partnership with Pleiades at New York University (Pleiades.stoa.org) remained active; this project has embarked on a new phase with the award of further support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Center’s two publicly available mapping resources, the Antiquity-A-La-Carte platform and the Ancient World Map Tiles, continue to be in great demand from scholars and educators.  Former Center director Dr. Ryan Horne designed both, and has maintained them: the platform now has approaching 2,000 registered users, while this year alone the tiles have been viewed nearly one million times.

The Center’s assistants have proven as dedicated and talented as ever.  It is a blow to be losing both graduate students: Will Knauth has completed his MLS, and Alexandra Locking has won a fellowship which requires exclusive focus on the completion of her dissertation.  Among undergraduates, Ashley Cloud graduated after two years of dedicated work for the Center.  Michael Heubel continued for a third year, and was joined by three excellent recruits Sabrina Cheung, Daniel Hawke, and McKenzie Hitchcock.  It is the Center’s good fortune that Gabriel Moss, after an outstandingly successful year as director, will continue in that position for 2016-2017.

Gabriel Moss

Richard Talbert

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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 awmc@unc.edu.

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“Mapping the Past” Videos Now Available

April 18, 2016 in Conference

The recordings of last month’s conference are now up on YouTube.  If you couldn’t make it to the conference, you can now watch the proceedings.  Thanks again to everyone who made the event possible, and for all our presenters for allowing us to record and post their talks.

Conference Videos

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Announcing AWMC Conference 2016

March 2, 2016 in Conference

Mapping the Past: GIS Approaches to Ancient History

April 7-9, 2016

The Ancient World Mapping Center is very excited to announce that it’s first ever academic conference will be held on April 7-9 on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.  ”Mapping the Past: GIS Approaches to Ancient History,” features a slate of exceptional scholars from eight universities and three countries.  Check out the flyer below of visit the conference page for more information.

 

Like, RSVP, or share this event on Facebook

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Two New Publications

October 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

     

Two recently published books hold great importance for the study of ancient geography and cartography.  Volume 15 of the Tabula Imperii Byzantini presents a formidable array of information on the geography of late antique Syria.  Meanwhile, Duane Roller’s Ancient Discovery masterfully surveys the development of Greek and Roman geographic thought and knowledge.  Both volumes make important contributions to the field, and will prove valuable for years to come.

TIB

Roller

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Forthcoming Publication

September 29, 2015 in Publication

Noteworthy for its excellent maps of the ancient world, Timothy Bruce Mitford’s East of Asia: Rome’s Hidden Frontier will appear in February, 2016 from Oxford University Press.

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AWMC Annual Report 2014-2015

August 6, 2015 in Report

5-1-14 to 4-30-15

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

This has been another very productive year for the Center.  Its publicly accessible map tiles, released last year, were significantly refined by the incorporation of OpenStreetMap data into the layers for coastlines, rivers and lakes.  Featuring some of the most precise geographic information available, OpenStreetMap data provides a new level of detail far superior to previous maps made from a VMAP0 base.  Because OpenStreetMap is primarily focused on contemporary conditions, it has been necessary for the Center to remove all modern manmade features from the Mediterranean and other coastlines, painstaking work typically to be done at very large scales.  This immense task was completed by the end of the year; the revisions will soon be incorporated into a new version of the Center’s map tiles and offered for download on the Center’s site.

A challenging, but instructive, major project which took the entire year to complete was the production of as many as 130 maps, battle-plans and site-plans in full color for The Routledge Atlas of the Ancient Near East and Persia from the Bronze Age to the Roman Imperial Period by Trevor Bryce and Jessie Birkett-Rees at the University of Queensland and Monash University respectively, Australia. This work was undertaken principally by Gabe Moss and Ray Belanger.  It hardly needs stressing that in terms of chronology, culture and geography the scope of this atlas is vast, and not surprisingly some of the plans in particular (Troy, for example) proved very demanding to draft.  A further important large project for which planning in collaboration with Oxford University Press has begun is a substantial range of maps of various types to illustrate the Oxford Classical Dictionary: in the revised, rethought online edition now being developed, this standard reference work is to include maps for the first time.

Other commissions fulfilled by the Center included seven maps for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions edited by Eric Orlin, as well as one map for the first English-language edition of Bertolt Brecht’s novel The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar, and another for Federico Santangelo’s biography of Gaius Marius (both Bloomsbury Publishing).  Many maps were made for Oxford University Press works: four for Luca Grillo’s commentary on Cicero, De Provinciis Consularibus; three for a monograph on Sophocles by Oliver Taplin; one for a monograph on Roman historical drama by Patrick Kragelund; and several, together with plans, for Richard Talbert’s Roman Portable Sundials: The Empire in Your Hand.  Further maps and plans were produced discreetly for Talbert’s surprise Festschrift Aspects of Ancient Institutions and Geography (Brill).  Plans for a set of maps to illustrate the bible were developed with the Bible and Gospel Trust, UK.  Cambridge University Press has now published the online map made by the Center to accompany Duane Roller’s translation of Strabo’s Geography.  As usual, the Center licensed a number of its previously published maps for reproduction, sometimes in modified form.

The Center’s wallmap of Asia Minor in the second century CE at 1;750,000 scale has been completed.  It is to be published with the volume of proceedings arising from the Ankara conference Pathways of Communication: Roads and Routes in Anatolia from Prehistory to Seljuk Times, to which Talbert has also contributed a chapter entitled “The mapping of classical Asia Minor and its routes: Progress and prospects from Richard Kiepert to Global Positioning Systems.”  Talbert and Center Director Ryan Horne presented the next wallmap in early draft – Hispania, also at 1:750,000 scale – at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in New Orleans, LA, where it was well received.  Two invitations to discuss the Center’s work were accepted – by Horne at the Wake Forest University Digital Humanities Kitchen, and by Talbert at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.  Talbert also taught a class on the Barrington Atlas by Skype for a Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire course at Radboud University, Netherlands.  Horne delivered the keynote address, focusing on digital mapping, for the UNC/King’s College London Transatlantic Conference.

At the graduate level, two students were recruited to the Center, Will Knauth (School of Information and Library Science) and Gabe Moss (History), while Ray Belanger unexpectedly proved able to continue working after graduation.  Ashley Cloud was recruited at the undergraduate level, joining Michael Heubel who continued.  While all have done excellent work, a special note of appreciation for Ray is in order as he leaves for a second time; the remarkable skill which he developed in drafting plans will be hard to replace.  The greatest loss by far, however, is that of Ryan Horne, who has capped five years of extraordinarily dedicated and creative work at the Center by serving as Director.  Most recently, Ryan’s continued commitment to the upgrading of the Antiquity-A-La-Carte tool and to furtherance of the Center’s partnership with the Pleiades project at New York University (pleiades.stoa.org) has been quite invaluable.  It is hard to thank him enough for all these efforts, which will continue to have longterm impact worldwide.  He is to be congratulated on his appointment as post-doctoral fellow at UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative.  Ryan’s successor as Director is Gabe Moss.

Ryan Horne
Richard Talbert

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Upcoming Peutinger Map Conference

July 31, 2015 in Interest, News, Presentation

Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt has announced the program for their upcoming conference on the Peutinger Map.  Bringing together presenters from more than half-a-dozen countries, the conference runs October 8-10.

Full-Size Flyer

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Pleiades Wins Grant

July 31, 2015 in Funding, News, Pleiades Project

AWMC Founding Director Thomas Elliott and the Pleiades Project have received a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The grant will fund “substantive changes to the technical and editorial infrastructure for the Pleiades gazetteer,” a joint project of New York University, the STOA Consortium, and AWMC.  Many congratulations to Dr. Elliott and the entire Pleiades community!

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Campus Martius Book Released by Cambridge University Press

February 3, 2015 in News, Publication

9781107664920This handsome new study by Paul W. Jacobs II and Diane Atnally Conlin, Campus Martius: the Field of Mars In the Life of Ancient Rome (isbn: 9781107664920)with several maps made at the Center, is now available from Cambridge University Press.

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