We have partnered with Digital Initiatives to create and maintain our digital squeeze collection. They have the technology to create beautiful high-resolution photographs using raking light to bring out the shadows on our inscriptions.
The full collection will likely take months to photograph and to create the metadata, but Digital Initiatives has screen-capped some sample pages to give us an idea what the final project will look like.
We are about to begin creating the metadata for the collection, and photography will begin in the fall. We anticipate taking 6 to 8 months to photograph the collection; once that is done, our focus will be on providing transcriptions and translations of the inscriptions. We plan to have English, French & Spanish translations to ensure that the collection is accessible to a wide audience. This will provide experience for many future Classics students, as well as create a teaching resource for the department.
The CNERS department at UBC has over 1,000 squeezes in its collection. A “squeeze” is a copy of an inscription made with wet filter paper that is pounded into the inscription with a horsehair brush. Once the filter paper has dried, it has an exact copy of the inscription.
We also have a number of “epigraphical maps” that detail how the archaeologists worked with the fragmented pieces of inscriptions to determine how they fit together, along with some letters about the collection.
Our project will ensure that the digital copies of these inscriptions are preserved and available for study. At the moment, we are working to organize and update our catalogue.
These are some of the Near Eastern artifacts that were donated to the department. We will be working with the Lab of Archaeology this summer to photograph the collection and will set up a website to be used for future study of the artifacts. At the moment, only the most preliminary identification has been done. The digital collection will be used as a teaching resource and our intention is that students will take the initiative to study the artifacts and add their own findings to the database
About our project:
Graduate students from the Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies Department at the University of British Columbia have begun a collaborative project to create a digital database of the department’s archaeological teaching collections for the benefit of students and faculty alike. There is a significant collection of archaeological material in the possession of the department that is, at present, inaccessible and unavailable to students. Through the creation of a digital database we aim to fulfil the following objectives:
1) to create a useful and meaningful online resource that can be modified and augmented in future years;
2) to bolster the department’s online presence; and
3) to establish a collaborative project for the graduate students to contribute to and work on together with the hopes of gaining experience in the Digital Humanities and creating a legacy for future students.
The fundamental project would consist of the database itself. We envision a multi-lingual, navigable resource which allows students to examine the objects for purpose of individual study or as a pedagogical tool. The first category of objects to be studied will be the epigraphic squeezes currently stored in the slide room. These are an obvious first choice, as their utility as a resource for countless members of the department is undeniable. By making these available, students and faculty will have the opportunity to study epigraphic records which are valuable for scholars of literature, history, and archaeology alike. Ideally, the squeezes would be studied individually, catalogued, photographed (and possibly scanned), and then entered into a digital database.