Like ducks on a pond, our site may have been quiet over the summer but we were madly churning away, digitizing new collections, creating teaching modules and getting our army of awesome volunteers enough work to keep them satisfied. We also had another summer of paid positions, funded by our renewed TLEF grant. Here’s a quick rundown of everything we’ve been up to lately.
First, let me introduce our summer staff:
Emma Hilliard worked on demystifying the Athenian Tribute Lists by getting together a comprehensive bibliography and determining specific line numbers on the Hekatompedon and Parthenon inscriptions, as well as helping write the presentation Chelsea gave at the University of Toronto’s Digital Pedagogy Institute in August.
It is relatively rare for undergraduate courses to provide students with the chance to handle, engage with, and interact directly with primary source material, particularly at the introductory level. Our primary goals were to create digital teaching collections that addressed this gap and to inspire students to see that the ancient world still has much to be discovered.
Katie Frankson researched and created our first teaching module on the ATL’s and their importance in 5th century Athens. Her work includes a background to the Athenian Tribute Lists, a handout on the Greek numbering system, and a worksheet for translating the amount of aparchai paid. This module gives students a break from lecture-heavy history classes and encourages them to engage first-hand with primary source evidence. What initially looks like just a list of numbers actually represents a meaningful record of ancient Greek history; one with several potential discussion points for the classroom. Students are able to engage with primary source material that not only gives them a tangible sense of the ancient world – they’re deciphering a text that provides a valuable wider context for classical Greek politics and economics.
Our other two summer digitization assistants were Jasmine Sacharuk and Courtney Innes, who worked on our new collection of ancient near eastern artifacts donated to UBC by the Blackmore family. The artifacts range in date from the neolithic period to the Islamic era, and will provide the CNERS Near Eastern archaeology students some fascinating artifacts to study. Some of the artifacts in the Blackmore Collection can already be seen on our beta-website, and we will be updating this collection as we complete digitization and research on this fantastic collection of ancient artifacts.
We’ve also been extraordinarily lucky with our summer volunteers – Chloe Martin-Cabanne, Leah Saddy and Constantijn van Aken here in Vancouver, and Pinar Lombaard who has been working on the project from Turkey. Chloe has been our volunteer coordinator all summer, and has taken charge of our collection of Roman coins. Leah Saddy has become our resident pottery expert and her posts on the Fuller Collection pottery sherds have been both instructive and entertaining, as she details how she chased down the origin of these pieces. Constantijn has been working on everything from artifact drawings to a numismatics bibliography for the coin collection, and Pinar has been working on detailed information on some of our epigraphic squeezes.
In case you missed them the first time around, we’ve also published posts on our team members’ summer digs, Chelsea’s adventures at the Athens Epigraphical Museum, and even the not-so-ancient artifacts in our collection. We also hit the national news cycle over the summer with the discovery and upcoming publication of a papyrus letter in our library’s Rare Books and Special Collections archives.
We’ll be revealing more of the Bahrain and Roman coin collections, running a series of instructional skills workshops, and creating more open-access teaching modules, all of which we’re very excited about, so stay tuned for updates!