Dr. Elliott's contributions to Epidoc LINK grew out of his research interests, which focus on the intersection of Roman documentary, administrative and geographic studies. First as a graduate student at Chapel Hill, and then as a research staff employee, Elliott made key contributions to the work of the Classical Atlas Project and -- as founding Director -- to the creation and development of the Ancient World Mapping Center (2000-2005). Since 2005, Elliott has been directing for the Center a path-breaking digital initiative, dubbed "Pleiades" after the daughters of Atlas in Greek mythology, that will bring together geographic, epigraphic, papyrological, literary and historical data in "an online workspace for ancient geography." This initiative, funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, is laying the foundation for a robust geospatial computing infrastructure that will grow globally to support the full range of online publications concerned with antiquity.
The Classical Atlas Project (1988-2000; http://www.unc.edu/depts/cl_atlas/) was directed by Richard Talbert, a former pupil of Dr Reynolds, senior member of the Mapping Center's Board and Principal Investigator for the Center's Pleiades Project. The Classical Atlas Project's aim was to develop comprehensive maps of the Greek and Roman world to modern cartographic standards, the top research reference need identified by the American Philological Association in the 1980s. Drawing on the expertise of a 200-person international team of scholars and cartographers, the project fulfilled its mission with the publication of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, ed. Richard J.A. Talbert (Princeton University Press, 2000).
The book itself, however, could only include some of the information which was gathered during its preparation. Moreover, it was always clear that on-going research and publication would necessitate updates. Indeed, the atlas' publication has served to quicken and diversify geographical research across all fields concerned with ancient studies. The Center's Pleiades project (http://icon.stoa.org/pleiades-beta/) is converting the full richness of the data compiled by the Atlas Project for use in digital contexts (e.g.., dynamic mapping and spatial proximity queries) and placing it into a flexible content management system to enable its perpetual update and diversification through large-scale, global collaboration. Pleiades will publish this data through a series of digital services facilitating rich interaction (e.g. dynamic maps and spatial queries) with other resources.
Because Pleiades is designed not only to publish information for the use of other projects but also to integrate continuously new data contributed by individuals and partner institutions, Dr Reynolds’ Roman Cyrenaica corpus project constitutes an ideal test case – promising, moreover, tangible advances in geographical knowledge – for the nascent Pleiades infrastructure and digital editorial systems. Production considerations forced the Barrington Atlas’ editors to select the relatively small scale of 1:1 million for preparation of its Cyrenaica map. A reassessment of this area, so important for our understanding of both Greek and Roman history, is a top priority for the Ancient World Mapping Center. Epigraphic evidence, such as that to be published in Dr Reynolds’ corpus, is indispensable material for this work. We intend, therefore, to test out the protocols for the inclusion of geographical data in EpiDoc, and epigraphic data in Pleiades; we hope to provide not only an excellent geospatial dataset for ancient Cyrenaica, but also tested tools and methods for establishing and maintaining productive bilateral data interchanges between Pleiades and digital publications of primary sources, such as Reynolds' corpus.