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Book of Interest now in paperback

March 12, 2020 in Publication

This Routledge publication was issued in paperback at the end of February.

Challenges of Mapping the Classical World (Hardback) book cover

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Two Books: New Edition and New Format

February 13, 2020 in Interest, Publication

A second edition of Graham Shipley’s Pseudo-Skylax is now available in hardback and paperback from Liverpool University Press.

Pseudo-Skylax's Periplous: The Circumnavigation of the Inhabited World: Text, Translation and Commentary

Richard Talbert’s Roman Portable Sundials is now issued in paperback by Oxford University Press.

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New Book of Interest

January 7, 2020 in Interest, Publication

Eastern Trade and the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages: Pegolotti’s Ayas-Tabriz Itinerary and its Commercial Context, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

This study by Thomas Sinclair, accompanied by many maps, has recently appeared from Routledge. While it relates to the medieval period in the first instance, it also draws upon the Antonine Itinerary and Peutinger Map among other ancient evidence.

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Upcoming Seminars in Paris Led by Richard Talbert

October 14, 2019 in Conference, Interest


Transferts de paysages dans l’espace et le temps :

de la géographie gréco-romaine aux Altertumswissenschaften,

base de la cartographie moderne

Richard J.A. Talbert, professeur invité de l’EUR Translitterae

Vendredi 22 novembre 2019, 11h-13h | ENS, 45 rue d’Ulm | salle F (escalier D, 1er étage)

Séminaire « Géographie historique et géoarchéologie »:

 Mesurer le temps dans la vie quotidienne des Romains 

Jeudi 28 novembre 2019, 11h-14h | EPHE, 17 rue de la Sorbonne | salle D052 Histoire

Séminaire « Représentation de l’espace : Moyen Âge – Époque moderne »:

La Karte von Kleinasien de Kiepert (1901–1916) : sa place dans l’histoire de la cartographie du XIXe siècle

Vendredi 6 décembre 2019, 9h30-12h30 | ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm | salle U209

Séminaire « Transfers culturels »:

La Karte von Kleinasien de Kiepert (1901–1916) : base de la cartographie ottomane, britannique et grecque de la Turquie pendant la Grande Guerre

Vendredi 13 décembre 2019, 11h-13h | ENS, 45 rue d’Ulm | salle F (escalier D, 1er étage)

Séminaire « Géographie historique et géoarchéologie »:

Nouvelles approches du grand plan en marbre de Rome (Forma Vrbis)

For more information see http://www.archeo.ens.fr/spip.php?article2074&lang=fr

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New Book of Interest: De nuevo sobre Estrabón

October 14, 2019 in Publication

See further here

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Upcoming Course (free, online) on Discovering Greek and Roman Cities

August 22, 2019 in E-resource, Interest

This MOOC due to start in September uses maps made by the Center, among many other materials, and may be of interest. Visit https://www.ancientcities.eu/mooc for information.

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Two New Books

August 7, 2019 in Interest, Publication

Image result for riggsby mosaics of knowledge

Just published by Oxford University Press. Riggsby examines five technologies including mapping (the others are lists, tables, weights and measures, artistic perspective).

See further: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/mosaics-of-knowledge-9780190632502?cc=us&lang=en&


Image result for roman roads anne kolb

Just published by De Gruyter, the outcome of a 2017 conference in Zurich organized by Anne Kolb.

See further: https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/509939

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Peutinger Map Conference, Vienna, September 19-21, 2019

August 7, 2019 in Conference

For program and further details, visit https://www.ku.de/ggf/geschichte/altegesch/aktuelles/

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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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Mapping the Classical World Since 1869: Past and Future Directions, SCS Annual Meeting 2019 Panel Online

February 12, 2019 in Conference, Presentation, Publication

SCS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, January 4, 2019


Invited Sesquicentennial Panel


Mapping the Classical World Since 1869: Past and Future Directions


Organizer & chair: Richard Talbert, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


1 Greek and Roman Mapping   Georgia Irby, College of William and Mary, VA


2 Modern Mapping Before Digitization   Richard Talbert


3 What Difference Has Digitization Made ?   Tom Elliott, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University


4 What Has the Ancient World Mapping Center Done for Us ?   Lindsay Holman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Center Director)


5 Rome’s Marble Plan: Progress and Prospects   Elizabeth Wolfram Thill, Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis


 Panel Overview

A 1980 APA/SCS committee report (Research Tools for the Classics) was correct on both counts to declare cartography at that date “an area of extremely great importance, where the state of our tools is utterly disastrous.”  The panel briefly discusses the disappointing lack of progress made during the previous past century, and advances reasons for its limitations (Papers #1, 2).  The main focus of the five papers, however, is on the transformation successfully achieved since around 1980, and still ongoing.

Three shifts may be identified as the keys to this transformation.  First, as Paper #1 explains, the more open, culturally sensitive approach to pre-modern cartography generated by the geographers Brian Harley and David Woodward has unlocked a fruitful, far-reaching re-appraisal of the purpose and value of ancient maps which is by no means yet exhausted.  Second, Paper #2 recalls the decisive insistence by the 1980 APA committee that, in view of the inadequacy of existing efforts worldwide to produce a major classical atlas or equivalent, the APA itself should take the lead in sponsoring one.  After initial failure, a decade-long international collaborative project to create such a reference work was successfully launched and funded, resulting in the publication of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World by Princeton University Press in 2000.  Third, the fortuitous transition from film-based mapmaking to digital during the 1990s made it practical to convert the Atlas and its data – with the use of digital technology – into a far more flexible and versatile resource than previously envisaged.

This technology, which has itself continued to develop, has given cartography a scope, complexity and richness unimagined in 1980.  Paper #3 in broad terms appreciates and illustrates this capacity for the advancement of the ancient field.  Paper #4 does likewise, but with specific reference to the expanding range of the Ancient World Mapping Center, the first institution of its type to be established (in 2000) for promoting cartography, geographic information science and historical cartography in the ancient field.  The Center was an unforeseen, visionary outgrowth of the project to create the Barrington Atlas, one which has amply fulfilled its promise.  Paper #5 offers an outstanding instance of how state-of-the-art digital technology can now bring to the study of a Roman monument a depth of insight unattainable until recently.  Moreover, this exciting new work on the Forma Urbis Romae fragments and the surviving wall to which they were once attached is a model of collaboration between Rome’s Musei Capitolini and the Ancient World Mapping Center.

The coherent, logical sequence of the panel’s five papers demonstrates to SCS not only that cartography today remains more than ever of extremely great importance to the ancient field, but also that the state of tools for it has now changed from disastrous to extraordinary, with further creative developments to be confidently anticipated.

N.B.  Because of more or less certain difficulties in obtaining permissions, the images shown at the panel to accompany each paper are not included here.