Mapping Ancient Heritage Narratives with Digital Tools

Foka, Anna; McMeekin, David A.; Konstantinidou, Kyriaki; Mostofian, Nasrin; Barker, Elton; Demiroglu, O. Cenk; Chiew, Ethan; Kiesling, Brady and Talatas, Linda (2021). Mapping Ancient Heritage Narratives with Digital Tools. In: Champion, E. M. ed. Virtual Heritage: A Guide. London: Ubiquity Press, pp. 55–65.



How does ‘digital’ apply to ancient pasts? Digital methods, especially methods relating to identifying, visualizing, and analysing spatial data, have become increasingly important within the fields of classical literature, archaeology, and heritage. On the one hand, literary narratives offer potentially different ways of representing space and place than the usual cartographic maps to which we have become accustomed. On the other hand, by virtue of being able to locate cultural artefacts in space – where they were found, through whose hands they have passed, where they reside now, where they were produced and circulated – it becomes possible to construct biographies or even itineraries of objects that offer richer ways of understanding their use and agency.

Unique in all classical literature, Pausanias’s second-century CE Periegesis Hellados presents an example of both types of spatial representation – a narrative that describes places of interest in the Greek landscape as well as the notable objects found there. This chapter discusses some of the ways in which Pausanias’s narrative of Greek heritage is good to consider when attempting to use digital methods for analysing the entanglements of place, people, and objects in a textual geography.

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