Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Changes to the Atlantides Feed Aggregators

Feeds for the following resources have been added to the Atlantides Feed Aggregators:
I've removed Digital Humanities Quarterly from the Electra aggregator because its feed refreshes on a nearly daily basis and each time the entries for the previously published issue are updated to the refresh date. This has the effect of keeping the latest issue of DHQ hovering near the top of the Electra feed long past its publication date, defeating the purpose of the aggregator.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Changes to Electra and Maia Atlantis

This morning I've added the following blogs to the Electra Atlantis feed aggregator:

Thanks to Adam Brin at Digital Antiquity for alerting me to their existence.

I have updated feed addresses in Electra for the following blogs, which have changed recently:

I have also removed the following blogs for the reasons indicated:

  • Tom Goskar's Past Thinking blog as the feed URL is returning no data even though the site itself appears to be up
  • The feed URL for the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln) is returning an error 500
  • The Abzu feed URL is returning 404
  • Sheila Brennan's Relaxing on the Trail has had its permissions reset so that it is no longer accessible.
  • Notis Toufexis' blog seems to have disappeared.

I have added the following blogs to the Maia Atlantis feed aggregator:


    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Flavia Faustina, version 3: chi-rho, dolium, multiple editors, rationale

    Ryan Baumann and Georgia Tsouvala have joined the mob!

    Ryan forked my Mob Epigraphy repository on github and added markup to the EpiDoc XML file to represent the Chi-Rho and dolium(?) that appear below the inscribed text. Then he sent me a pull request. I merged his changes and pushed them back to github, and then I pushed a few more modifications to show his contribution in the EpiDoc/TEI header and to modify the stylesheets to handle whitespace and multiple editors better (and to write out an HTML doctype). Here's the result:
    Ryan's change -- which parallels the treatment in ICVR II as reported via EDB -- raises some questions in my mind:
    1. Is the second illustration really a dolium? It doesn't look that much like what's illustrated at Why would a dolium appear on a Christian sepulchral inscription? Maybe someone like Sebastian Heath or Charlotte Tupman will have an idea about that.
    2. Are those two items really glyphs that should be "read" as part of the inscription and therefore marked up using the TEI "g" element (as Ryan has done), or should they be treated as figures or illustrations and therefore marked up a different way? If they are "glyphs", then what would be the corresponding glyph definition markup (if any) and where should it go in an EpiDoc file? Maybe someone like Gabriel Bodard or Marion Lamé will have an opinion about that.
    Meanwhile, Georgia wrote to me as follows:
    I like version 2. For one, I could see it and read it without any problems; something I could not do with version 1. I like the idea of being able to see pictures, texts, and translations of inscriptions on a single page. My question is: what are you trying to do here? What's the purpose, goal, etc. of Mob Epigraphy? And how can others help, contribute, etc.?
    My goal with Mob Epigraphy is two-fold. First, I want to create more on-line, open examples of real inscriptions marked up in EpiDoc. Secondly, I want to see how far we can push an openly collaborative model in the practice of digital epigraphy, welcoming all interested parties in editing the text and pushing the boundaries on what we can and can't do with standard encoding and web publication.

    How to contribute? There are many ways. This post highlights two examples. Ryan saw something missing and, exploiting the digital collaboration infrastructure provided by github, pitched in to fill the gap. Georgia had comments and questions and, after having some trouble with Blogger's comment functionality, sent me an email. Both are great ways to contribute, and I bet readers of this post can come up with more -- like suggesting answers to my questions above, or proposing more robust or interesting documentation of the inscription or elaboration of the encoding or HTML representation.

    Previous post.

    Flavia Faustina, version 2: style

    This is a follow-on to my initial posting about the Flavia Faustina inscription from St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome. Another contribution to the "Mob Epigraphy" thread. Still a mob of one, alas ... if you see something you think could be done better -- epigraphically or technically -- please chime in! There are deliberate (and no doubt accidental) omissions and mistakes.

    Not much substantive change, just style and inline image:

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Mob Epigraphy: Sepulchral Inscription of Flavia Faustina

    First installment in an irregular series (entitled "Mob Epigraphy") exploring the collaborative encoding, enrichment and publication of epigraphic texts on the web.

    Here's the deal: what follows is surely incomplete, or even wrong, from any number of perspectives (textual, historical, technical?). So, if you have ideas or expertise with respect to the text, translation, descriptive information, EpiDoc/TEI encoding of the XML, HTML encoding, etc.), then please weigh in via comment or another blog post (just make sure I discover it somehow!).

    What do you think would make this a better digital publication?

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    National Adoption Month

    November is National Adoption Month:
    Giving a child a strong foundation -- a home, a family to love, and a safe place to grow -- is one of life's greatest and most generous gifts. Through adoption, both domestic and international, Americans from across our country have provided secure environments for children who need them, and these families have benefited from the joy an adopted child can bring. Thanks to their nurturing and care, more young people have been able to realize their potential and lead full, happy lives. This year, we celebrate National Adoption Month to recognize adoption as a positive and powerful force in countless American lives, and to encourage the adoption of children from foster care. (President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation: National Adoption Month, 1 November 2010).
    There is also a blog post and video from the Secretary of State.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Changes to Maia Atlantis

    At the request of its author, Alan Lenzi, I have removed the Bible and Ancient Near East blog from the Maia Atlantis aggregator because it "is being used to send out spam."

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    One User's Experience with Pleiades

    I just finished posting an extended comment on Hethre Contant's consideration of her initial experiences with Pleiades, entitled "Regarding the Pleiades: A Vision of the Future for Mapping the Past." She prepared it as a report for an Urban Media Archaeology class at New School University, taught by Shannon Mattern.

    I assume my comment is in queue for moderation. Since I think it (and Heathre's report) are of potential interest to the Pleiades community, I'm re-posting my comments here:

    Hi Heathre:
    Thanks for giving us your perspective as a new user of Pleiades. It's really helpful to hear how people are trying to use this emerging resource and to see where they run into trouble.
    The delay in signing you up initially is an occasional consequence of the fact that our signup procedure is manual and occasionally the editors are unavailable while on travel or the like. I apologize if it put you in a difficult situation time-wise. 
    We currently have funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support software and content development through April 2013, but editorial work is all volunteer.
    We're not finished loading up all the legacy content from the Barrington Atlas. You can read more about the state of that process here: with maps here: .
    Since you last looked at the site, Sean has rolled out some improvements to the individual maps. They now show you nearby places as well. See further: .
    The squares you see on the maps for many places correspond to the grid squares on the Barrington Atlas maps from which they derive. We are currently working with colleagues at Harvard, who have digitized the exact coordinates from the Barrington compilation materials and improved their precision by visually checking them in Google Earth. We anticipate these coordinates will be added to Pleiades by mid-2011, replacing the squares that frustrated you. We'll also have reciprocal links to the Harvard project's online system, the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization:
    "Phokaia" is a transliteration of the ancient Greek, whereas "Phocaea" is the Latin version, used by the Romans and subsequently in the west during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. I'm glad Pleiades was able to help you sort this out, despite the fact that our resources do not yet comprehensively list all the variants for every site. This is something we're encouraging our users to help flesh out.
    Please let us know if you have further observations or suggestions (or complaints) about the site.
    Best wishes, 

    Updates to Maia Atlantis

    The following changes have been made to the subscription list of the Maia Atlantis Feed Aggregator:

    • Ancient Mediterranean Musings (author has taken the blog private)
    • Ars Nesciendi (blog not found; presumed deleted)
    • Charles Watkinson's Blog (feed gone)
    • Dacian Archaeology (author has taken the blog private)
    • Iconoclasm (site reports error; will try again in 1 month)
    • Idle Musings of a Bookseller (content has been orthogonal to the focus of the aggregator for several months)
    • Japanese Archaeology (blog not found; presumed deleted)
    • Logos Bible Software Blog (feed is future-dating posts; will check again in 1 month)
    • Thoughts on Antiquity (domain no longer registered)
    • Novum Testamentum Blog (domain no longer registered)
    • Numismatics and Archaeology (author has taken the blog private)
    • The Oresteia Project (blog not found; presumed deleted)
    • Scarring the Past (author has taken the blog private)
    • Scribal Practices (blog not found; presumed deleted)
    • Transport Archaeology (blog deleted by author)
    • A Way Through The Hills (blog deleted by author)
    • What's New in Abzu (feed access has apparently been blocked for the aggregator: 403 forbidden)

    Updates to Electra Atlantis

    The following changes have been made to the subscription list of the Electra Atlantis Feed Aggregator:


    Modifications (feed URLs changed):

    New Blog: Digital Papyrology

    Just started this morning:

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    EpiDoc Tools Released "as is"

    If you visit you'll now find readily downloadable releases of the following EpiDoc tools:
    • Guidelines
    • P5 Conversion Tools
    • Transcoder
    • Example P5 XSLTs
    • Example P4 XSLTs (deprecated; last/final release)
    • DTD (deprecated; last/final release)
    • Schema
    • CHETC JavaScript
    These releases reflect the current state of code or documentation as it is to be found in our SVN repository. All of the tools have had README.txt files added in order to help the person downloading them figure out what they are and how to start using them. They also all have LICENSE.txt files that spell out the terms under which they are distributed. If you want to see our agenda, feel free to visit:

    Some of these packages are out-of-date or not feature-complete (e.g., especially the guidelines). We'll want to marshal volunteers in coming weeks and months to work on these discrepancies. There is in fact, already a group working hard on the guidelines. If you're not part of that group and would like to be, please shout out about it on the markup list.

    My hearty thanks to Gabriel Bodard, Hugh Cayless and Charlotte Tupman, who assisted in today's sprint, and to Marion Lame, who also volunteered but could not be available during the time that I had scheduled.

    Our next big step is to update so that it properly reports on the state of each tool and links directly to the appropriate release. I'll be issuing a call for volunteers for that follow-up sprint shortly.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Linking to Google Books Content in an Ancient Geographic Way

    I'm very interested in finding ways through Pleiades and other ISAW digital projects to support the efforts of Leif, Elton and Eric on the "Google Ancient Places (GAP): Discovering historic geographical entities in the Google Books corpus" project. In particular, I'd hope we can integrate this into the web interfaces for our projects:

    ECS will work on a Web Service and Web Widget [that] will make it possible for Webmasters to add links to the ancient texts [in Google Books] within their websites, enabling the public and researchers to search for them easily.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    "Classics Librarian" Blog (Phoebe Acheson) added to Maia Atlantis

    I was pleased to discover Phoebe Acheson's blog Classics Librarian via a twitter follow. Herein the University of Georgia Library's liaison to the Department of Classics there writes about such topics as resources for the study of Roman topography and tutorials for Dyabola (the bibliographic database of the German Archaeological Institute), while making the occasional alllusion to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    New Pleiades Screencast: Add a New Place Manually

    I've just posted a new screencast that, in less than 5 minutes, shows you had to draft a new, rudimentary place resource in Pleiades without recourse to Google Earth or other external tools. Let me know what you think.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Added Blogging Pompeii to Maia Atlantis

    I don't know how it's possible that I've been unaware of the Blogging Pompeii blog all this time. Thanks to a post on the ever-vigilant David Meadows' Rogue Classicism blog, my cluelessness has been rectified. And of course I've added Blogging Pompeii's feed to the Maia Atlantis aggregator.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Planet Taygete update

    I just learned, thanks to a blog post at the old blog, that the website and blog for the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon has moved but not put any standard redirects in place at the old blog or feed. I've updated the subscription list for Taygete Atlantis to point at the new source, where I see there are a large number of posts (since early June) that I had missed.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Featured Pleiades Content: Strophades/Plotai Inss. and the "Pont Julien"

    Today we've published two updates to the content in Pleiades.

    Sean Gillies has contributed updated coordinates and descriptive information for the so-called Pont Julien, a Roman bridge (ancient name, if any, unknown), located to the west of Apta Iulia (mod. Apt) in France. It had been indicated on Barrington Atlas Map 15 E2). The point coordinates Sean provides, as you'll see from the KML if you've got Google Earth, are more precise than the BAtlas map could provide given its scale of 1:500,000 (+/- 930 meters). Their derivation from Google Earth and Geoeye imagery is described in the associated accuracy assessment.

    With help from Brian Turner and Richard Talbert, I've remedied an oversight in the Barrington Atlas: the omission of the Στροφάδες/Strophades islands. We'd originally addressed this oversight back in 2003, when I still worked for the Ancient World Mapping Center, having been alerted to the problem by Rick LaFleur. After Sean loaded the legacy information associated with BAtlas Map 1 into Pleiades, I started working on a place resource as well. In so doing, I dug a bit deeper and discovered the ancient tradition of an alternate, earlier name for this peculiar island group: Πλωταί/Plotae. Once again, Google Earth provided us with better coordinates, although not this time without some confusion (see the associated accuracy assessment and the map on the main resource page). I was also able to exploit the greater flexibility provided by Pleiades to enumerate all the attested name variants (including an ethnikon asserted by Stephanus of Byzantium), in their original orthography, and to provide citations of most of the relevant attestations of same in ancient literature.

    It's great to see Pleiades moving closer to full-spectrum use. We're no longer just bringing material forward from the Classical Atlas Project, we're also publishing new, more accurate and complete information. I hope that soon you'll be seeing more of this sort of thing, with contributions by a widening community. You can be part of this community, if you're interested: here's how.

    Thanks to all, including our editors, who helped get these resources ready to publish.

    Transliterating Greek (and Latin)

    A thread on classics-l led to a request by Daniel Riaño that we should release the code we use in Pleiades to transliterate Greek. This code also can be used to verify that a string contains only valid UTF-8 characters for Greek (and also for Latin), prior to running the transliteration. Thanks to Sean's help, it's now released on pypi under a BSD license. Coptic's next.

    Share and enjoy!

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Ramping up Pleiades 2

    Last March, I alerted readers to the great news that NEH had elected to fund a second round of work on the Pleiades project. We're picking up steam.

    Sean Gillies, our chief engineer, has been adding more legacy content inherited from the Classical Atlas Project. We're nearly at the half-way point, with features associated with 48 of the 102 Barrington Atlas maps now represented as Pleiades resources (you can keep score on the Pleiades Content wiki page or monitor the Pleiades news feed for announcements as new content appears). Sean's also introduced a number of improvements to the web application and the user interface, and has been blogging about our data model.

    Brian Turner (my co-managing editor) and I have been getting ready to start working on adding some new content that wasn't included in the Barrington, including a number of obscure features from the so-called Peutinger map that turned up during Richard Talbert's work to prepare a new scholarly edition of the map (forthcoming from Cambridge UP). Nico Aravecchia, a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW, has been working on new Pleiades resources for a number of poorly published and recently excavated Coptic sites in Egypt that also did not appear in the Barrington. We'll start publishing these new resources during the next month as they clear editorial review.

    Meanwhile, we've been in dialog with Michael McCormick, Guoping Huang and Kelly Gibson at Harvard. They're the driving force behind the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, with whom we're collaborating under the new grant. Our aim is to collate and share the datasets assembled by both projects and to cross-link our web applications. This will bring more accurate coordinates for many features into Pleiades, as well as a number of new features that will expand our time horizon into the middle ages. You'll get a choice of display and map interaction modes and, eventually, the ability to move back and forth between both resources. We'll keep you posted as the timeline for this portion of the work is refined.

    We also aim to make things easier for early adopters to get started. We're starting to script some more screencasts to show you how to suggest changes or additions to content. We've also been planning improvements to our data portability story: our commitment to open access dictates that we make it easy for you to export our complete content for external reuse elsewhere. Making specific plans for that is on the agenda for next month as well.

    If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to submit them as comments here. If you'd like to give Pleiades a spin, follow the instructions for requesting an account.

    New blog added to Electra Atlantis

    I've just added the following blog to the Electra Atlantis aggregator:
    He's presently blogging about the digitization of 8th and 12th century bibles held in the library of the Lichfield Cathedral, in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England.

    (Hat tip to Dot Porter, whose post at Stoa alerted me to this blog)

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    ISAW New Faculty Appointment: Sören Stark

    From ISAW's director, Roger Bagnall:

    The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University is pleased to announce the appointment of Sören Stark as Assistant Professor of Central Asian Art and Archaeology.

    Professor Stark studied Oriental Archaeology and Art History, Ancient History, and European Art History at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He received his doctorate in 2005 with a study on the archaeology and history of the pre-Muslim Turks in Central and Inner Asia, which was published in 2008 as Die Alttürkenzeit in Mittel- und Zentralasien. Archaeologische und historische Studien (Nomaden und Sesshafte 6).

    From 2005 to 2008 he led archaeological surveys and excavations in Northern Tajikistan. Before joining the faculty of ISAW he was a Junior Fellow at the Excellence Cluster TOPOI and teaching at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

    His research ranges chronologically from the Iron Age up to the pre-Mongol Middle Ages and deals with various aspects of archaeology, art history, and history in Central and Inner Asia as well as in neighboring cultural areas. His main focus lies on the political and cultural interrelations between pastoral nomads in these areas and their sedentary neighbors. Currently, he is preparing a book on territorial fortifications in Western Central Asia. He is also co-editor of a Handbook of Central Asian Archaeology and Art which is presently under preparation at Oxford University Press.

    Professor Stark will begin teaching seminars at ISAW in the fall. Please join us in welcoming him to our community.

    Professor Stark's faculty profile is at

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Josh Greenberg on the Mellon/UVA "Shape of Things to Come" conference

    The general perception of the academic humanities as far removed from the daily lives of the general public that is only heightened by isolationist jargon and publishing mechanisms that create rather than break down silos represents a massive failure to make the case for the value of that work to society ...
    Epistemographer | Notes from “The Shape of Things to Come”

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    NEH Awards Grant for Pleiades Project

    I'm happy to report that the National Endowment for the Humanities, through the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program of the Division of Preservation and Access, has granted New York University $298,457 in outright grant funds to support an additional three years of funding for the development of Pleiades. Watch this space, and Sean's blog, for further details in coming weeks. Here's the official NEH announcement (we're listed in the "Nebraska to Wyoming" PDF, page 7).

    Our sincere thanks to NEH, the anonymous reviewers of our application, and to all those in our user community who have helped us reach this important milestone!

    Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Early Christianity in the Western Desert of Egypt: New Evidence from the 2006-2008 Excavations at Ain el-Gedida, Dakhla Oasis

    March 2: Visiting Research Scholar Lecture

    Speaker: Nicola Aravecchia
    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Room
    Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
    15 E 84th Street, New York, NY 10028
    Date: Tuesday, March 2
    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    *reception to follow

    Early Christianity in the Western Desert of Egypt: New Evidence from the 2006-2008 Excavations at Ain el-Gedida, Dakhla Oasis

    The last few decades have witnessed a resurging interest in Early Christianity in Egypt, accompanied by a deeper awareness of the value and significance of Christian Egypt’s architectural and artistic heritage. ...

    Click here for permalink and full description

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Flutes, Wine and Astronomy: Shamans in Early East Asia?

    Archaeological Institute of America Free Public Lecture Series:

    Flutes, Wine and Astronomy: Shamans in Early East Asia?
    Dr. Sarah Milledge Nelson, University of Denver
    12:45 p.m.
    Thursday, February 11, 2010
    Wilson Hall 168
    University of Alabama in Huntsville

    • UAHuntsville Global Studies
    • Archaeological Institute of America

    Korea and the Silk Road

    Archaeological Institute of America North Alabama Society Free Public Lecture Series:

    Korea and the Silk Road
    Dr. Sarah Milledge Nelson, University of Denver
    7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 11, 2010
    Chan Auditorium
    University of Alabama In Huntsville

    Sponsored by:
    • UAHuntsville Global Studies
    • Archaeological Institute of America

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Lecture: Deconstructing the Myth of the Great Mother Goddess

    Update, February 10: This lecture has been canceled due to weather. Watch the ISAW Events Page for further information.

    February 11: Exhibition Lecture

    Speaker: Peter Biehl
    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Hall
    Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
    15 E 84th St.
    New York, NY 10028
    Date: Thursday, February 11
    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    *reception to follow

    Deconstructing the Myth of the Great Mother Goddess: Masking and Breaking the Human Body in Old Europe

    Dr. Biehl will provide an overview of how the people of Old Europe represented the human body in the form of anthropomorphic figurines made of clay, bone and marble in the 6th and 5th millennium BC and discuss how studying visual representations of the human body can aid us in understanding identity and personhood in the past. One of the main ...

    Click here for permalink and full description

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Temple Treasury Records and Local Politics in Ur III Mesopotamia

    February 16: ISAW Visiting Research Scholar Lecture

    Speaker: Xiaoli Ouyang
    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Room
    Date: Tuesday, February 16
    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    *reception to follow

    Temple Treasury Records and Local Politics in Ur III Mesopotamia

    This lecture targets a group of Umma texts dated to the Ur III dynasty (c. 2112-2004 BCE), probably the best documented period in Mesopotamian history. Umma is the province with the largest number of texts, accounting for almost one third of the 90,000 or so records from this period. This group of texts documents the delivery of ...

    Click here for permalink and full description

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    A new Concordia term: "where" (needed for linking papyri to Pleiades resources)

    In discussions this week with Sean and Hugh, we explored what would be minimally necessary for web feeds describing the papyrological documents now being surfaced via

    In the long term, we'd like to link not only to descriptive resources (at Pleiades or elsewhere) for their modern places of finding but also any ancient places attested in the texts themselves (having done named-entity analysis on all 50,000+ documents, the first steps in which are now underway by Mark Depauw and the Trismegistos team in Leiden).

    In the near term, we can express geographic linkages on the basis of the nome attributions recorded for the papyri by the editors of the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der griechischen Papyrusurkunden Ägyptens whose records are incorporated into the contents.

    But none of the terms we had previously defined in our Concordia link-type thesaurus precisely fit this information. We did have several geographic terms (findSpot, origin, observedAt and attestsTo), but we needed to add a more generic one: "where". The nomes as indicated by HGV are geographical classifications, based on the ancient regions, made primarily for facilitating reference and review by modern scholars. They don't necessarily constitute "find spot" or "place of origin" in every case. This "where" term idea followed naturally from Sean's earlier efforts to advocate for a "where" link relation type. A link in a feed entry using this term will simply indicate that the described resource should be treated as being located, in a general way, at the place described by the linked resource.

    Hopefully, this term will be useful not only for, but also for other pre-existing datasets where the location information recorded about ancient artifacts is similarly less precise than the born-digital epigraphic corpora that guided the minting of our initial thesaurus terms. Hopefully it will also prove useful in contexts such as those that Sebastian has recently been blogging about.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    ISAW Exhibitions Musical Performance: Christine & Dinu Ghezzo and Friends

    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Room
    Friday, January 22 2010
    7:00 p.m.

    This special concert will highlight folk and traditional songs from different parts of Romania. Some of the musical traditions included are Colinde (Winter Songs/Carols) , Bocete (Death Laments), Doina (Lyrical Songs) and Wedding Songs. Each song will be presented with sensitivity to traditional methods of interpretation, while bringing in new elements such as sound samples of folk instruments and improvisation by the musicians. The music will express a full spectrum of universal human emotion and experience, while sharing the rich repertoire of Romanian traditional music. Each song will be introduced with a brief description and translation of the words, and time will be set aside for audience questions.

    This event is associated with the Lost World of Old Europe exhibition, currently showing at ISAW.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    ISAW Lecture: The Late Copper Age in the East Balkans and the Case of Varna

    NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Exhibitions Lecture: Vladimir Slavchev
    The Late Copper Age in the East Balkans and the Case of Varna

    Speaker: Vladimir Slavchev
    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Room
    Date: Thursday, January 21 2010
    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    *reception to follow

    The Varna Necropolis, a cemetery that lies in the western industrial zone of Varna, Bulgaria, is one of the premiere archaeological sites in the world for the research of world pre-history. The massive interest in this cemetery is due to the abundance and variety of objects recovered from its graves, namely gold artifacts. Dr. Slavchev will discuss these grave goods (and the necropolis from which they came) in relation to Varna culture as a whole. The presence of artifacts in a wide range of materials at the cemetery, one of the burial sites of the highly-developed local community that inhabited the shore of Varna Bay at the time, suggests that the community was part of a developed network of medium and long range trading, transport and distribution of prestige items. Dr. Slavchev will argue that the local manufacturing of goods was predominantly aimed at the local community and its needs. Therefore, such prestige items could have functioned as gifts for exchange with neighboring cultures or as goods to be sold in the trading network.

    This lecture is associated with the Lost World of Old Europe exhibition, currently showing at ISAW.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Living in the Heights: Hilltop settlement and the changing landscape of northern Hispania during late antiquity

    NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Visiting Research Scholar Lecture: Damián Fernández

    Speaker: Damián Fernández
    Location: 2nd Floor Lecture Room
    Date: Tuesday, January 19 2010
    Time: 6:00 p.m.
    *reception to follow

    Hilltop settlement was one of the most prominent characteristics in the landscape of the northern Iberian Peninsula until the Roman conquest. With the establishment of Roman rule in the decades around the turn of the era, several of the pre-Roman hilltop forts were abandoned in favor of a developed network of lowland cities that became the backbone of the regional settlement hierarchy. This process was somewhat reversed after the late-third century CE, when archaeologists have dated the beginning of the occupation of hilltops (and, sometimes, the re-occupation of Iron Age sites). The ‘movement towards the highlands’ has traditionally been interpreted either as reemergence of indigenous social structures that had survived the Roman conquest or as the result of the insecurity provoked by the presence of barbarian armies in the third and fifth centuries.

    In the last two decades, piecemeal archaeological research in the northern Iberian Peninsula has begun to provide us with new information about these sites. Their material culture and the more accurate chronology indicate that traditional interpretations about the phenomenon of hilltop occupation are no longer valid. After reviewing some paradigmatic sites, this lecture will offer an alternative model to understanding the change in settlement patterns. It will be argued that occupation of hilltops must be understood in the context of the administrative reforms of the late Roman Empire and the economic changes that occurred in northern Iberia during late antiquity.