It has been another big week in digital archaeology and history, folks. In this week’s Digest, we explore the digitization of Biblical manuscripts, ancient timepieces, Byzantine shipwrecks and the import of Open Access ideas within the field of archaeology.
New York City: Over at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) in New York City and just across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a new exhibit that focuses on “Time and Cosmos in Greco-Roman Antiquity” (Oct. 19, 2016 – April 23, 2017). The New York Times has already run a stellar (pun intended!) review of the exhibit. From sundials to mosaics, you need to go see this exceptional display in person–or access the online catalog to see all the objects. Understanding the construction of time and the personifications of the universe are just one way to access the ancient world and to better understand how they viewed it. Plus, there are some stunning coins on loan from the American Numismatic Society (whose coinage database you can search here).
The Black Sea: The Euxine sea was a popular sailing spot in antiquity, but it was also a dangerous one. Archaeologists at the University of Southampton involved in a project called “Black Sea Maritime Archeology” funded by the Expedition and Education Foundation (EEF), have now begun to process and record 41 shipwrecks from the sea floor that date to around 800 CE–during the period of the Byzantine empire. Following an extensive underwater survey, the collected geographical points, sonar data and thousands of photographs of the shipwrecks are being compiled and used to create 3D models and maps. The hitch is that the key surveyor for the project is actually a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) that traveled along the sea floor. New technologies such as ROVs and photogrammetry are allowing digital archaeologists to bring this ship graveyard back to life.
Grand Forks, North Dakota: This week (Oct. 24-30, 2016) is Open Access Week, which means we celebrate and highlight tools, publications and resources that are freely available to the public rather than placed behind a paywall. With that in mind, I should mention that one of the best archaeology blogs today is run by Bill Caraher, a professor at the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks. It is called “Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.” Prof. Caraher has a great post up on the meaning of #OpenAccessWeek and discusses a number of publications via The Digital Press. I have already mentioned Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology, but Open Access Week is also a good opportunity to return to Punk Archaeology and Visions of Substances: 3D Imagining in Mediterranean Archaeology. Rejoice and be glad for archaeologists that make their work freely accessible online.