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2013: Modeling Connectivity

Cultural networks in the ancient Mediterranean

New approaches and technologies for interpreting space – “the spatial turn” -- are having a profound impact on human communication, and the structures of social, economic, and political systems. This colloquium will model three perspectives for social networking and connectivity, bringing together the past and future.

The following lectures were presented:

  • The Character of Inhabitants: Environmental Theory in Classical Antiquity, Prof. Michael Maas
  • How the Romans Saw the World Through Portable Sundials, Prof. Richard Talbert
  • Deep Mapping Archaeology: Qualitative GIS, citizen science, and immersive sensual worlds, Prof. Trevor Harris

Dr. Richard Talbert is a renowned international historian (UNC-Chapel Hill), whose current research focuses primarily on Greek and Roman spatial perceptions (physical and cultural), and on mapping the classical world.  Two books co-authored or edited by him have already appeared in 2012, and a third is forthcoming entitled Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. With Grant Parker (Stanford), he is currently writing Travel in the Roman Mind (Routledge).

Dr. Michael Maas is a long-standing scholar of late antiquity (Rice University), and the author/editor of numerous books and articles, with a particular focus on age of Justinian (5th – 6th centuries).  Recently the co-editor (along with Dr. Talbert and others) of Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre-Modern World, Dr. Maas increasingly incorporates informatics within the rich dataset of late antiquity to help understand the complex nature of an age formative to the foundations of western society.

Dr. Trevor Harris is the Eberly Distinguished Professor of Geography and Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of West Virginia.  Author of numerous articles and books (forthcoming co-editor, The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship) and a holder of patents in geospatial applications, Dr. Harris is a well-recognized authority on GIS applications to the digital humanities.


This lecture was co-sponsored with the Department of Art History, the Department of Political Science, the Geography Program, the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program, the Santee Cooper GIS Laboratory, and the Classics Club. It ran from Thursday, February 21 to Friday, February 22.