The Ancient Mediterranean Digital Project is an open-access database on ship representations of the Mediterranean basin broadly covering the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age periods. Initially conceived as a means to publish the catalogue portion of my doctoral dissertation covering the eastern part of the region, the project has since expanded with a photogrammetry component, with further plans to include the western part of the basin in order to provide a holistic view of the entire Mediterranean. Drawing inspiration from exciting advances in the digital humanities and an ever-growing need for open-access research tools and digital cultural heritage preservation, the project’s ultimate aim is to create an up-to-date virtual maritime museum that gathers material which is widely dispersed in dozens of institutions on multiple continents, a significant portion of which remains poorly documented or little known.
In addition to basic information, entries are provided with my annotated commentary that covers both the technical and contextual aspects of the objects, supplemented by my own drawings for a good portion of the catalogue as well as photogrammetry models. The guiding methodology has been to approach ship representations as cultural artefacts, providing a historically situated, context-based analysis that integrates their technical aspects with socioeconomic practices, cultural significance and attitudes. The advanced database search engine has likewise been tailored to the specific nautical theme of corpus, while the interactive map is meant to supplement it with a spatial distribution component. It is hoped that AncMed can provide, in a convenient and user-friendly format, the research tools for scholars outside of the discipline to meaningfully use and integrate this dataset while stimulating future collaborative projects and crowdsourcing.
Dr Tzveta Manolova