Lecture: Going Public: Introducing the Research of Ancient Syria Outside the University
Dr. Kristina Neumann, UH Department of History and
Dr. Peggy Lindner, UH Center for Advanced Computing and Data Science
In the ancient past, the war-torn Syria in today’s news was defined both as a prominent crossroads between East and West and by the multiculturalism of its diverse inhabitants. Despite this strong characterization in the extant evidence, uncovering how the identities and connections of Syrian communities evolved over time and space has been an onerous task. In addition to significant gaps within the textual record and limited archaeological investigation, ongoing political violence and destruction of antiquities increasingly threaten to erase the vibrant mosaic of this historic region. Our project - “Finding Connection in Ancient Syria” - responds to this challenge by creating a digital space for integrating and analyzing the artifacts of the region – such as coins – in new and dynamic ways. In its final form, this interactive, online exhibit will allow scholars, students, and the general public to manipulate interactive maps, graphics, and 3D models in order to explore the different political, social, and economic connections among Syrian cities. This talk will discuss the development of this project, from an individual scholar’s research question to the current collaborative public pilot on the city of Antioch to our future plans for outreach and wide engagement on the vital and contemporary issue of Syrian heritage.