Antioch in Late Antiquity: Photo Archive of the Princeton Excavations

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As museums digitize their collections, institutional stewards of excavation records are also slowly moving them online, as part of a much broader effort within archaeology to effectively manage and publish data.  For Late Antique archaeology, a major initial step has been taken with the publication of photographs from the excavations at Antioch-ad-Orontes (and its suburb, Daphne), under the general direction of Charles Rufus Morey, Chair of Princeton’s Department of Art and Archaeology, between 1932 and 1939. Continue reading

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The Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art

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1977 was not only the year of Star Wars, it also heralded the Age of Spirituality!  As a follow up to the recent post on Byzantium and Islam, a special exhibit from 2012 with a permanent web presence, I note here that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made available for download a true monument of scholarship on early Christianity and Late Antiquity, produced in conjunction with one of the most important special exhibits ever (“hailed as one of the most important didactic exhibitions ever assembled by an art museum”), The Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century (Nov. 19, 1977-Feb. 12 1978). Continue reading

Byzantium and Islam: A Special/Web Exhibit at the Met

Museums large and small are not only digitizing their inventories; many now also create permanent websites for special exhibitions.  An excellent example of the latter is “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition,” at the Met between March 14 and July 8 2012, one of the best presentations of the material culture of later Late Antiquity, which brought the now widespread academic trend of viewing early Islam within its historical context to a wider audience; Continue reading

Digital Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, like many institutions with important manuscripts, is digitizing their collection; a Preservation and Access grant from the NEH is supporting the creation of images for their Byzantine, Armenian, and Ethiopian holdings.  The Walters Art Museum’s approach, however, is multi-faceted: one can flip through “digital surrogates” of select manuscripts, especially in the Islamic collection, including this copy of the Shahname; or download digital images of others, such as this Syriac Galen, on a different site.  Most innovative, perhaps, is their creation of a Flickr stream with images from their archiving project, which may indeed be an effective way to have these manuscripts reach a broader audience. Continue reading

Digital Roman Forum in Late Antiquity

This ground-breaking project, undertaken between 1997 and 2005 at the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory, under the direction of Bernard Frischer and Diane Favro, still remains the most important visual reference for the Roman Forum, a useful archive of literary and iconographic sources, and a standard for online visualization projects of ancient sites.  The Digital Roman Forum project aims to reconstruct the appearance of the Forum in Late Antiquity (400 CE), on a building-by-building basis.  The reconstruction of each monument is presented as a series of still images from various perspectives, as well as Panorma and Object movies; bibliographic information is included as well. Continue reading

A Bibliography on Christianity in Palestine/Eretz-Israel

This large bibliographical database covers all periods from the Roman Empire to the present.  Late Antiquity, with the development of the Christian Holy Land, is well represented.  Like the Comprehensive Bibliography on Syriac Christianity, it is hosted at Jerusalem’s Center for the Study of Early Christianity.  The bibliography can be browsed alphabetically by author, year, era (Roman Palestine, Byzantine Palestine, Islamic Period, Crusaders, Mamluk Period, Ottoman Period, and Modernity), or according to a very large number of keywords based on tags for each entry, a feature that offers significant searching power. Continue reading

Virtual Reconstruction of Late Antique and Medieval Constantinople (Byzantium 1200)

This site offers a set of 3-d reconstructions with a CAD program of the major monuments of Constantantinople, as they appeared around 1200 (a few years before the city was sacked during the Fourth Crusade).  According to its introduction, Byzantium 1200 is the creation of an independent researcher (for whom no name is given), in collaboration with Albrecht Berger, then of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Istanbul, now Professor of Byzantine Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich.

Each building was reconstructed using a combination of earlier sketches, ancient and medieval reports, and, in some cases, original on-site surveying in Constantinople. Continue reading