Digital archiving and development of the collections of Squeezes of Greek Inscriptions of the French School at Athens, together with the Collections of the HiSoMA laboratory (UMR 5189 - Lyon) and the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici of the University of Venice.
 


This project is undertaken within the priority research axis (Digital Tools for Research) of the French School at Athens’s five-year academic programme, 2017-2021. 
The designing work of a digital ectypothèque (squeezes library) began in January 2015 thanks to funding (€53,500) from axis 5 of the Digital Academic Library driven by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. In line with suggestions provided in the call for funding, this project aims at two correlated goals:

  • long-term archiving of the paper squeezes, in digital form (.tiff images) for conservation purposes;

  • open access dissemination of this scientific documentation which is essential for the work of epigraphists and requires an entire set of modelled and structured metadata to be linked to 2D and 3D views. The intention is to create a documentary resource which puts focus only on squeezes and which is not simply a new edition of, or commentary on, epigraphic texts.

Since 2017, the four original partner institutions — the French School at Athens, the HiSoMA lab (UMR 5189, CNRS), the System of Information and Network Centre of the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée-Jean Pouilloux, and the Digital Epigraphy and Archaeology Project (DEA) of the University of Florida, USA — have been joined by the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, in association with the university’s Venice Squeeze Project. The data generated are stored by the TGIR HumaNum and benefit from its rich array of services, notably NAKALA, which will facilitate the representation of data.

The first phase of work is currently being completed. After being selected from the collections of the FSA and HiSoMA according to a number of shared criteria, roughly 6000 inscription squeezes, originating from four key sites explored by the FSA (Delos, Delphi, Thasos, Philippi), have been digitized and 3D views have been created in line with a procedure developed by the Digital Epigraphy and Archaeology Project. They will be available for consultation online with the help of a visualizing screen, which features all the tools essential for the work of epigraphists, in particular the ability to vary shadowing.
In tandem, the documentary metadata, collected from preexisting databases, have been modelled, enriched and recorded in standardised formats and languages for the Semantic Web, to facilitate their interoperability with other types of resources for the study of Greek inscriptions — electronic editions of texts in TEI/EpiDoc, photographs of inscriptions, Geographic information system (GIS), etc., which will be connected at a later stage to the ectypothèque E-STAMPAGES. At the intersection of other digital epigraphy publications, a multilingual thesaurus has been created with the help of the OpenTheso tool; it is developed and maintained within the FRANTIQ network by the Plateforme Tête de Réseaux Documentaires team of the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée-Jean Pouilloux. Finally, in line with the same archival standards which apply to the squeezes themselves, the archival metadata are managed locally, at the FSA and at the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée, with the help of ICA-AtoM. An identical procedure is followed by the Venice team with the collection of squeezes of inscriptions from western Greece made by Claudia Antonetti from the 1980s onwards, so that this collection can be published alongside the FSA and HiSoMA collections in the digital ectypothèque.

For online distribution, the programme finally chose the CMS Omeka S, which is better suited than the Omeka Classic version for making the fullest use possible of the metadata structured on the principle of ontology in an RDF graph. The site is structured hierarchically first into institutional collections, then into geographic subsets, according to the place of discovery of the inscription reproduced on the squeeze. Pages of presentation summarizing the approach taken, the history of the collections, and the lettering accompany the resource; thanks to cross-referencing, it creates many possibilities for new avenues of research and unexplored perspectives. Finally, the CMS Omeka facilitates the creation of thematic exhibitions using individual units from the digital corpus, providing a chance to shed light on how epigraphists are working with the squeezes. The entire team met in Athens for a week in March 2018 for a final validation of the metadata model and to test the CMS for online release.
 
The opening of the E-STAMPAGES site for public consultation, with sets belonging to each of the three collections, is planned for the second semester of 2018. A joint presentation will be given to the sixth Seminario Avanzato di Epigrafia Greca (SAEG VI) that will take place between the 16th and 18th of January 2019 at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
 
A second phase of work will begin in 2019. In addition to the planned online release of other geographical series, this phase will involve the digitization of ‘oversize’ squeezes and the completion of work on the ‘Homolle Collection’, which belongs to the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and is currently housed at the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée-Jean Pouilloux in Lyon. This collection alone comprises close to 5000 squeezes.
 
With the hope of providing a strong methodology for the digital publication of this type of documentation, the E-STAMPAGES portal aims to host other collections of squeezes in the future by remaining open to other national and international opportunities for collaboration.


For more information

Read the overview on the HISOMA site
Overview on the Research Blog of the CAHIER consortium
PPT presentations of the lecture given at the FSA in December 2016
Read the article in the Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, 145, September 2016, pp.24-27.
Lecture by Michèle Brunet at the FSA: Epigraphy and Digital Technology


Participants

Lyon - HiSoMA and MOM
Michèle Brunet This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Adeline Levivier This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Bouchon  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bruno Morandière This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Patrick Desfarges This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Athens - FSA
Marie Stahl This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Julien Fournier This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Louis Mulot This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University of Florida
Angelos Barmpoutis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eleni Bozia This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Ca’ Foscari University
Claudia Antonetti This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eloïsa Paganoni This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.