Kelly, T. F., Kienzle, B., Stoneman, W., Harward, J. V., Emanuel, J. P., Grigoli, L., & Baker, T. M. (2014). The Medieval Scrolls Digital Archive . Inaugural Harvard University Lasky–Barajas Digital Humanities Innovation Fund, $12,000 (Co-Investigator).Abstract
The goal of this project was to develop the first online database of Medieval Scrolls in collections worldwide (http://medievalscrolls.com). The online database and website were developed in concert with two projects by Thomas Forrest Kelly, Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University:
When Shelley Wachsmann began his analysis of the small ship model excavated by assistants of famed Egyptologist W. M. F. Petrie in Gurob, Egypt, in 1920, he expected to produce a brief monograph that would shed light on the model and the ship type that it represented. Instead, Wachsmann discovered that the model held clues to the identities and cultures of the enigmatic Sea Peoples, to the religious practices of ancient Egypt and Greece, and to the oared ships used by the Bronze Age Mycenaean Greeks.
Although found in Egypt, the prototype of the Gurob model was clearly an Aegean-style galley of a type used by both the Mycenaeans and the Sea Peoples. The model is the most detailed representation presently known of this vessel type, which played a major role in changing the course of world history. Contemporaneous textual evidence for Sherden—one of the Sea Peoples—settled in the region suggests that the model may be patterned after a galley of that culture. Bearing a typical Helladic bird-head decoration topping the stempost, with holes along the sheer strakes confirming the use of stanchions, the model was found with four wheels and other evidence for a wagon-like support structure, connecting it with European cultic prototypes.
The online resources that accompany the book illustrate Wachsmann’s research and analysis. They include 3D interactive models that allow readers to examine the Gurob model on their computers as if held in the hand, both in its present state and in two hypothetical reconstructions. The online component also contains high-resolution color photos of the model, maps and satellite photos of the site, and other related materials. Offering a wide range of insights and evidence for linkages among ancient Mediterranean peoples and traditions, The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context presents an invaluable asset for anyone interested in the complexities of cultural change in the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.
We describe how faculty desire for a state-of-the-art platform to study and teach Harvard Library’s digitized books and manuscripts found an eager sponsor in HarvardX and HUIT. The project has joined an open source software consortium based on open APIs (Shared Canvas, IIIF) led by Stanford. Harvard Library is championing the project as a successor to the web tools that currently access the Digital Repository. Oculus will debut in HarvardX’s History of the Book modules in early 2015.
The multidirectional flow of communication and culture around the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean is clearly reflected in the iconographic, literary, and material records. While the participation of states in these exchanges of ideas and objects is clearly recorded in records like the Amarna letters, the role of non-state actors, both within established networks and “below the radar” on the periphery of formal lines of communication, is a subject that has garnered increasing interest in recent years. This paper approaches the role of peripheral actors – alternatively known as entrepreneurs or pirates, depending on time, setting, and context – in the development and diffusion of technology by focusing on the development and spread of the Helladic Oared Galley and the Loose-Footed, Brailed Sail around the Eastern Mediterranean during the last years of the Late Bronze Age and the Late Bronze–Early Iron transition. These technological developments represented a break from prior ship design, which revolutionized seafaring in the eastern Mediterranean. While the Galley, a vessel well-suited for raiding and warfare, seems to have its origin in the Helladic world (as its name suggests), the brailed sailing rig appears in multiple locations within the Eastern Mediterranean world within a small temporal window, with its most famous representation being the naval battle scene at Medinet Habu, wherein both Egyptian and ‘Sea Peoples’ ships are portrayed as employing this new rig in identical fashion. The circumstances and connections which caused these opposing forces to draw on new and identical implements will be explored in this study, as will the role (and travels) of non-state maritime actors in driving the development and distribution of this revolutionary maritime technology.
CB22x: The Ancient Greek Hero, was offered as a HarvardX course in Spring and Fall 2013 on edX, a platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs). It was taught by Professor Greg Nagy. The report was prepared in cooperation between members of, and researchers external to, the course team, and is based on examination of the courseware, analyses of the data collected by the edX platform, and interviews and consultations with the course faculty and team members.
While the World Wide Web has provided the public at large with heretofore-unimagined access to information, the egalitarian – and frequently anonymous – nature of online content creation has also provided an unprecedented opportunity for the spread of misinformation and misinterpretation alike. Archaeology is no exception to the double-edged sword that is the 21st century web, as the opening of museum collections, the ability to conduct armchair “surveys” via tools like Google Earth, unfettered access to uncontextualized images via simple Web search, and similar developments have combined to confront a new generation of avocational and aspiring archaeologists with myriad explanations and interpretations of artifacts, archaeological data, and history writ large.
While certainly – and literally! – not a deus ex machina, the rise of the MOOC (both in its traditional definition as “massive open online course,” and in its growing use as a repository for massively-accessible online content) may help counter this current state of affairs by providing a structured mechanism for professionals across the academy to reach, interact with, educate, and learn from an ever-growing online audience. This is of particular importance for archaeology, a field in which standards of conduct and interpretation are keys to sound and ethical practice.
The open, inclusive nature of MOOC-based learning experiences can allow them to compete with similarly free and open sources of information about archaeological topics that are broadly accessible on the public Internet. Further, in the MOOC environment, experts leading open online learning experiences can draw in new participants, while simultaneously ensuring that the facts, techniques, and practices conveyed in their particular learning experience represent accurate scholarly interpretation and understanding, as well as the most up-to-date professional standards and methods. Successful participants, in turn, may go on to serve as international and intercultural hubs from which accurate, professionally-conveyed information can flow outward to various peripheries, while at the same time the multicultural nature of MOOC audiences may also serve as a mechanism for improving the professional practice of archaeology, in part by creating a feedback loop via which practitioners can be exposed to viewpoints and cultural interpretations that might not be commonly considered.
While distance education is not a new phenomenon by any means, the combination of open learning opportunities and 21st century technologies has allowed “non-traditional” education to take a decidedly non-traditional turn of its own. New technologies and techniques allow learners to be provided with interactive experiences, while teachers can be provided the ability to keep their fingers on the pulse of the participant collective, ensuring that knowledge and understanding are being effectively communicated to the community of learners, and that the feedback loop between participants and practitioners remains firmly in place. This paper considers the role of MOOCs in this “new academy,” with two open learning experiences offered by HarvardX/edX in 2013 serving as case studies to evaluate and demonstrate the opportunity presented by the MOOC phenomenon not only to engage students online, but to take steps toward creating a true worldwide community of practice.
In 1920, a small wooden ship model was discovered in a shallow tomb in Gurob, near the Faiyum oasis in Middle Egypt. Incorrectly assembled (twice) but perceptively labeled as a “Pirate Boat” by the overseer of its excavation, Flinders Petrie, the model was paired in antiquity with a pavois and a wheeled cart, likely signifying its use as a cultic object. Following two brief mentions by Petrie (in 1927 and 1933), the model was largely forgotten until the turn of the millennium, when it was “rediscovered” in the Petrie Egyptological Museum and published by in 2013 by Shelley Wachsmann, who recognized the small model as representing a Helladic oared galley of the type known from the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
The galley’s introduction was a critical inflection point in the history of ship architecture, as its design allowed for unprecedented freedom of movement on the seas. Adopted around the Eastern Mediterranean, the Helladic galley ultimately spawned both the Phoenician bireme and Greek dieres, and its use was critical to these cultures’ Iron Age exploration, expansion, and colonization. The Gurob model, which dates between the mid-13th and mid-11th centuries BCE, is the most complete three-dimensional evidence we have for this important vessel type, as well as the only polychromatic representation found to date. As such, it confirms much that has been theorized about these vessels, while also providing new evidence for their construction and adornment, including the use of color – a facet of Mycenaean seafaring that had only previously been accessible in Homeric epithets like μἐλας ‘black’ and κυανόπρῳρος ‘dark-prowed’, as well as the less-well-understood μιλτοπάρῃος ‘red-cheeked’ and φοινικοπάρῃος ‘purple-cheeked’ descriptors. The latter are only used in the Homeric epics to identify the vessels of Odysseus, and the uniquely polychromatic nature of the Gurob ship-cart allows to understand them much more fully than in the past.
This lecture discusses the Gurob model and its significance for our understanding of Mycenaean seafaring and Homeric ship descriptions, and includes three-dimensional representations, composed by the Institute for the Visualization of History, of this ship-cart model as discovered and as reconstructed. Additionally, the design, spread, and influences of the Helladic oared galley are discussed in their internationalist Eastern Mediterranean context, with particular emphasis on framing Odysseus’ maritime to Egypt, vividly recounted in the hero’s ‘second Cretan Lie,’ within the larger context of the epic’s fictive date in the Late Bronze–Early Iron Age transition.
The appearance of the brailed rig and loose–footed sail at the end of the Late Bronze Age revolutionized seafaring in the eastern Mediterranean. The most famous early appearance of this new technology is found in history’s first visual representation of a naval battle, on the walls of Ramesses III’s mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. In this monumental combat scene, both Egyptian and Sea Peoples ships are depicted with this new rig, as well as top–mounted crow’s nests and decking upon which shipborne warriors do battle. The identical employment of these innovative components of maritime technology by opposing forces in this battle suggests either some level of previous contact between the invaders and those responsible for designing and constructing Egypt’s ships of war, or shared interaction with a third party, perhaps on the Syro–Canaanite coast. This article examines the evidence for the development of the brailed rig in the eastern Mediterranean, and explores the possibility that at least one group of Sea Peoples, who may have comprised a key part of the international economy of the Late Bronze Age in their role as “pirates, raiders, and traders” (Georgiou 2012: 527) – Artzy’s “nomads of the sea” (1997) – played a similarly integral role in the transference of maritime technology between the Levant, Egypt, and the Aegean.