Almost all research, teaching, and scholarly communication in ancient studies today bears the imprint of digital technology in some way, yet the growing number of projects and the rapid rate of technological development present a distinct challenge for scholars who are interested in taking advantage of advances in the digital humanities.

This workshop is a space for students and scholars to interact with a variety of digital techniques and digital projects of broad application, providing participants the opportunity to engage in hands-on, peer-based learning.

Experienced digital humanists from various disciplines within ancient studies have developed demonstration curricula and will coordinate teams of trained demonstrators for each workshop station.The emphasis will be on learning to do things of immediate utility to scholarship and pedagogy.

Finally, there will be a panel discussion at the end of the workshop dedicated to discussing issues related to the use of new digital technologies in research, teaching, and scholarly communication.

AMS 2018 Schedule

Working with Geospatial Networks of the Roman World using ORBIS

Scott Arcenas
Jonathan Weiland
Stanford U.

ORBIS is a web-based tool that makes it possible for the first time to simulate the time cost and financial expense incurred by travel and transportation around the Roman Empire. In this workshop, you will learn to use ORBIS to (e.g.) find the fastest route between Londinium and Constantinopolis, calculate the cost of shipping wheat from Alexandria to Rome, and make your own distance cartogram to represent travel times from Antioch to more than 600 other locations throughout the Roman Empire. In the premodern world, cost—in terms of time and money—rather than distance was the primary determinant of connectivity. Conventional maps that depict the world as it appears from space thus misrepresent the constraints that governed flows of people, goods, and information around the ancient Mediterranean. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and coastal Atlantic, ORBIS allows its users to calculate the duration and financial cost of travel throughout the Roman Empire and to generate a variety of visualizations on the basis of those calculations. In so doing, it reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of both Roman and pre-modern history more generally.

Semantic Inferencing for the Archaeologist

Sebastian Heath

This presentation introduces the concept of "semantic inferencing" as it applies to archaeological databases. Inferencing in general means deriving new facts from one set of facts. All finds within a stratigraphic unit can also be said to be from the tomb to which the unit belongs. All finds from Italy or North Africa also belong to the group of finds from the Central Mediterranean. This form of reasoning can be efficiently expressed and utilized to answer queries that combine findspot, geographic origin, and other common archaeological criteria. A selection of open-source tools and existing standards that implement this approach to archaeological data will be discussed and example data will be shared.

How to use the PeriodO gazetteer of period definitions

Adam Rabinowitz
U. Texas-Austin

The PeriodO gazetteer is a collection of period definitions with coordinates in both time and space, drawn from authoritative sources and provided as structured data with globally unique, persistent identifiers. This growing collection of period definitions seeks to provide a common reference for descriptions of named time-spans in the past (like “the Archaic period” or “the Iron Age”), in the same way that Pleiades provides a common reference for places in the past. Because PeriodO definitions can be located in both time and space, and because the gazetteer records an unlimited range of definitions for the same period term (and different terms for the same chronological span), PeriodO URIs can be used to connect periodized data across databases that use different chronological definitions or terminology. This workshop will introduce participants to the project and demonstrate the searching, browsing, and visualization tools in the PeriodO web interface. It will also provide hands-on demonstrations that explain how users can submit their own preferred period definitions and how PeriodO URIs can be easily added to period terms in a user spreadsheet through OpenRefine. Participants are encouraged to bring their own research-specific period definitions and/or periodized datasets.

How to create a citable, machine-actionable data model with the Homer Multitext

Casey Dué
Center for Hellenic Studies

Brian Clark
Tufts University

Stephanie Lindeborg
Bostin Latin Academy

The Homer Multitext project aims to make the full complexity of the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey accessible to scholars and undergraduates by means of high-resolution images of the historical manuscripts that transmit the poems, together with digital diplomatic editions of their contents. The HMT thus extends the work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord by taking advantage of the possibilities offered by digital editing, computational processing, and electronic publishing in order to present the Homeric texts in a way in which the oral, traditional nature of the epics can be better appreciated and investigated. It also empowers scholars and undergraduates to engage in collaborative research and the creation of openly licensed data. In this workshop we will provide an overview of the project and the data currently available to users, and then go on to demonstrate how researchers can take advantage of the HMT's citation structure to create data models using stable and permanent identifiers (URNs).

How to Do Philology with Computers

T.J. Bolt
Adriana Casarez
Jeffrey Hill Flynt
U. Texas-Austin
Ariane Schwartz
I Tatti Renaissance Library/Harvard

Computational stylometry has aided the work of philologists for over 50 years. From simple word counts to the latest use of machine learning for authorship attribution, computation offers the literary critic a wide array of techniques to better understand individual texts and large corpora. To date, these methods have largely been accessible to specialists possessing a background in programming and statistics. The Quantitative Criticism Lab has now designed a user-friendly toolkit that will allow humanists with no prior training in the digital humanities to obtain a wide range of philological data about most classical texts and to perform sophisticated quantitative analyses—all using a simple point-and-click interface. This presentation will demonstrate some of the experiments and literary critical insights enabled by the toolkit, and discuss relevant issues of interpretation and statistical analysis.

AMS 2018 Panel Discussion

Hannah Čulík-Baird, Moderator
Boston University

Sarah Bond
University of Iowa
Casey Dué
Center for Hellenic Studies
Cora Sowa
Minerva Classics
Donna Zuckerberg


As mentioned in the introduction, all aspects of ancient world study at this point bear "the imprint of digital technology." While this has brought about access to the kinds of cutting-edge research tools and resources that are showcased at Ancient MakerSpaces, it has not been without challenges. We have gathered together a diverse panel of digital practioners in Ancient World study, whose interests cover computational approaches to Classical philology, digital editions and manuscripts, mapping, and the use of social media for redefining outreach and scholarly publication, among many others. Our panel will discuss these issues as well as the general state (and future) of digital work in Classics.

Lightning Presentations

Patrick J. Burns, Moderator

In the interest of bringing attention to as many projects in Digital Classics, Archaeology, and related fields as possible, Ancient MakerSpaces 2018 will host an hour-long Lightning Presentations session. Presenters will have three minutes each to introduce their project, address its application in Classics research, pedagogy, or outreach, and explain how contributors, volunteers, or users can get involved. If you are interested in participating in the Lightning Presentations, contact Patrick J. Burns at

AMS Lightning Presentations will include Alpheios, The Bridge, Logeion, WIRE Project, and more.

The schedule for the Lightning Presentations will be available soon.

Other SCS Digital Classics Programming

Ancient MakerSpaces is possible because of the growing community of digital classicists within the SCS and the AIA. Accordingly, AMS attendees may also be interested in the following conference events and panels:

Deconstructing the Open Greek & Latin Project

Wed. 1/3. All day. Tufts University. Medford, Ma.

Digital Textual Editions & Corpora

Sun. 1/7. 8:30-10:00am.