Posts Tagged ‘geography’

Open Epigraphic Data Unconference report

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Last month, a dozen or so scholars met in London (and were joined by a similar number via remote video-conference) to discuss and work on the open data produced by the Epigraphic Database Heidelberg. (See call and description.)

Over the course of the day seven working groups were formed, two of which completed their briefs within the day, but the other five will lead to ongoing work and discussion. Fuller reports from the individual groups will follow here shortly, but here is a short summary of the activities, along with links to the pages in the Wiki of the OEDUc Github repository.

Useful links:

  1. All interested colleagues are welcome to join the discussion group:!forum/oeduc
  2. Code, documentation, and other notes are collected in the Github repository:

1. Disambiguating EDH person RDF
(Gabriel Bodard, Núria García Casacuberta, Tom Gheldof, Rada Varga)
We discussed and broadly specced out a couple of steps in the process for disambiguating PIR references for inscriptions in EDH that contain multiple personal names, for linking together person references that cite the same PIR entry, and for using Trismegistos data to further disambiguate EDH persons. We haven’t written any actual code to implement this yet, but we expect a few Python scripts would do the trick.

2. Epigraphic ontology
(Hugh Cayless, Paula Granados, Tim Hill, Thomas Kollatz, Franco Luciani, Emilia Mataix, Orla Murphy, Charlotte Tupman, Valeria Vitale, Franziska Weise)
This group discussed the various ontologies available for encoding epigraphic information (LAWDI, Nomisma, EAGLE Vocabularies) and ideas for filling the gaps between this. This is a long-standing desideratum of the EpiDoc community, and will be an ongoing discussion (perhaps the most important of the workshop).

3. Images and image metadata
(Angie Lumezeanu, Sarah Middle, Simona Stoyanova)
This group attempted to write scripts to track down copyright information on images in EDH (too complicated, but EAGLE may have more of this), download images and metadata (scripts in Github), and explored the possibility of embedding metadata in the images in IPTC format (in progress).

4. EDH and SNAP:DRGN mapping
(Rada Varga, Scott Vanderbilt, Gabriel Bodard, Tim Hill, Hugh Cayless, Elli Mylonas, Franziska Weise, Frank Grieshaber)
In this group we revised the status of SNAP:DRGN recommendations for person-data in RDF, and then looked in detail about the person list exported from the EDH data. A list of suggestions for improving this data was produced for EDH to consider. This task was considered to be complete. (Although Frank may have feedback or questions for us later.)

5. EDH and Pelagios NER
(Orla Murphy, Sarah Middle, Simona Stoyanova, Núria Garcia Casacuberta, Thomas Kollatz)
This group explored the possibility of running machine named entity extraction on the Latin texts of the EDH inscriptions, in two stages: extracting plain text from the XML (code in Github); applying CLTK/NLTK scripts to identify entities (in progress).

6. EDH and Pelagios location disambiguation
(Paula Granados, Valeria Vitale, Franco Luciani, Angie Lumezeanu, Thomas Kollatz, Hugh Cayless, Tim Hill)
This group aimed to work on disambiguating location information in the EDH data export, for example making links between Geonames place identifiers, TMGeo places, Wikidata and Pleiades identifiers, via the Pelagios gazetteer or other linking mechanisms. A pathway for resolving was identified, but work is still ongoing.

7. Exist-db mashup application
(Pietro Liuzzo)
This task, which Dr Liuzzo carried out alone, since his network connection didn’t allow him to join any of the discussion groups on the day, was to create an implementation of existing code for displaying and editing epigraphic editions (using Exist-db, Leiden+, etc.) and offer a demonstration interface by which the EDH data could be served up to the public and contributions and improvements invited. (A preview “” perhaps?)

Unlocking Sacred Landscapes, by Giorgos Papantoniou

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Project report by Dr Giorgos Papantoniou,

Previous multi-dimensional approaches to the study of ancient Mediterranean societies have shown that social, economic and religious lives were closely entwined. In attempting to engage with Cyprus’s multiple identities – and the ways in which islanders may have negotiated, performed or represented their identities – several material vectors related to ritual and sacred space must be taken into consideration. The sharp modern distinction between sacred and profane is not applicable to antiquity, and the terms ritual, cult and sacred space in Unlocking Sacred Landscapes: Cypriot Sanctuaries as Economic Units are used broadly to include the domestic and funerary spheres of life as well as formally constituted sanctuaries. Perceiving ritual space as instrumental in forming both power relations and the worldview of ancient people, and taking ancient Cyprus as a case study, the Project aims at elucidating how meanings and identities were diachronically expressed in, or created by, the topographical and economic setting of ritual and its material depositions and dedications.

The evidence of cult or sacred space is very limited and ambiguous before the Late Bronze Age. During the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1700-1125/1100 BC), however ritual spaces were closely linked to industrial activities; the appropriation, distribution, and consumption of various resources (especially copper), labour and land was achieved by the elite through exploitation of supernatural knowledge. The Early Iron Age (ca. 1125/1100-750 BC) landscapes are very difficult to approach. We can, however, identify sanctuary sites in the countryside towards the end of this period. This phenomenon might well relate to the consolidation of the Iron Age Cypriot polities (known in the archaeological literature as Cypriot city-kingdoms) and their territories. While urban sanctuaries become religious communal centres, where social, cultural and political identities are affirmed, an indication of the probable use of extra-urban sanctuaries in the political establishment of the various polities of the Cypro-Archaic (ca. 750-480 BC) and Cypro-Classical (ca. 480-310 BC) periods has recently been put forward.

During the Hellenistic period (ca. 310-30 BC), a process of official neglect of the extra-urban sanctuaries signals a fundamental transformation in the social perception of the land. After the end of the city-kingdoms, and the movement from many political identities to a single identity, extra-urban sanctuaries were important mainly to the local extra-urban population. By the Roman period (ca. 30 BC-330 AD), the great majority of Hellenistic extra-urban sanctuaries are ‘dead’. When the social memory, elite or non-elite, that kept them alive ‘dies’, they ‘die’ with it; what usually distinguishes the surviving sites is what the defunct sites lacked: political scale and significance. As the topography of Roman sanctuary sites reveals, this is not to say that extra-urban sanctuaries did not exist anymore. Over time, however, they started to become primarily the concern of local audiences. The annexation and ‘provincialisation’ of Cyprus, with all the consequent developments, were accompanied by changes in memorial patterns, with less focus on regional or local structures, and more intense emphasis on stressing an ideology which created a more widely recognisable ‘pan-Cypriot’ myth-history, which was eventually related to Ptolemaic, and later to Roman imperial power and ideology.

This Project puts together a holistic, inter-disciplinary approach to the diachronic study of the ancient Cypriot ritual and cult. While it aims at bringing together textual, archaeological, epigraphic, art-historical, and sociological/anthropological evidence, for the first time it incorporates ‘scientific’ spatial analysis and more agent-centred computational models to the study of ancient Cypriot sanctuaries and religion. By inserting in a GIS environment the Cypriot sanctuary sites the relation of sacred landscapes with politico-economic geography put forward above is tested both at regional and at island-wide level.

The Project falls under the umbrella of a larger Research Network entitled Unlocking Sacred Landscapes.

For further information:

Dr Giorgos Papantoniou
Research Training Group 1878: Archaeology of Pre-Modern Economies
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Institut für Archäologie und Kulturanthropologie
Abteilung für Klassische Archäologie
Lennéstr. 1
D-53113, Bonn