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.

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 http://www.nyu.edu/isaw/faculty.htm#stark

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.

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. ...

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