Monday, November 29, 2021

Some Preliminary Thoughts. Mycenaean Atlas Project

Some preliminary thoughts and readings:


Without using the Mycenaean Atlas specifically see if you can find 'Romiri'.

  • 1. Messenia II, McDonald and Simpson, p. 233, no. 37B  Avisos (Romiri).   Online here.
  • 2. Mycenaean Greece, Richard Hope Simpson [1981], p. 120, 'F38 Romiri: Avisos'.  Online here

The answer is here.  No peeking.

     I myself cannot find the spring 'Kephalovrisi'.  Can you?

McDonald and Simpson [1964] 233 say that from the site to the Chapel of Analipsis is 186 degrees; to the mountain of Chandrinou (Hagios Elias) is 267 degrees; and from the site to the center of Mesopotamos village is 338 degrees.  So the back azimuth from these three sites is 6, 87, and 158 degrees respectively.

  • Chapel of Analipsis: 186     6 degrees backwards from chapel
  • Mountain of Chandrinou: 267       87 degrees backwards from mountain
  • Mesopotamos Village (center): 338        158 degrees backwards from Mesopotamos

- Moral for Finding Romiri

Obsolete names become embedded in the archaeological literature as here in Romiri (many abandoned towns), on Antiparos (Krassades: C7134), and elsewhere (Elis).  This is a powerful incentive to map as many of these sites as possible so that the knowledge is not lost and does not become an esoterica.

- Some Blog Posts

- Some Slides:

Locating C390 (Gargaliano Megas)

- Follow the telephone wires ...     Tracing phone wires to locate a site.  Here C390 (see slide)

- Here is an example of one way to locate a site.   The  site of Gargaliano Megas (C390) is described in Davis and Bennet's Pylos Regional Archaeological Project.  The landscape is gently rolling low hills covered with brush and monocrop olive culture.  It is difficult to find by just using a map.  The one photograph shows poles with electrical wires.  It was possible in this instance to start by tracing the visible wire network in Google Earth and then matching that network's likely locations to the photograph.  Once that was done it was possible to re-create the original photograph in Google Earth and confirm the actual site location (top of the hill in the middle distance).   More than that it was possible to locate the position and the angle from which the photograph was taken.  Recreation of photos in Google Earth is a powerful technique.

DB Input Forms

Many tools and utilities can be written to make the creation of such a database simpler.  Putting 4000+ records into a database is no trivial task for a team member.  This process can be shortened and made reliable by creating DB input forms.  Here's an example of one of those forms which fills in the main table.  On the left is the form itself and on the right is the resulting MySQL code which goes to the DB.  Using such forms reduces errors and saves time.   It just looks like a form.  When it's filled in the submit button sends the input to a PHP program that generates the corresponding MySQL statements.  It's often worth the cost to write database input tools.    

What sorts of numbers are required for accurate site location?

A primary goal of the DB was accuracy of location.  Analytical tools will only work properly when the input data is accurate and I made a commitment to expend every effort to achieve that goal.  Of course many of these sites are not clearly locatable.  The control page allows you to survey various levels of accuracy.

What about the Bronze Age Collapse?

The M.A.P. wasn't created in order to support any particular theory.  Nonetheless it's remarkable that it appears to show signs of something catastrophic occurring at the end of the LHIIIB.   Here are two images; the left shows what a search for 'Settlement' looks like in Messenia for the LHIIIB.  The right-hand slide shows the same thing during the LHIIIC.

You can generate .kml or .csv files of such searches

- What Effect, if any, does such an Atlas have on Site Security?  Should the M.A.P. be taken down?  Discuss.

  • - Some scholars think that lat/lon pairs should be published.
  • - Most sites were discovered forty years ago or more and published long ago.
  • - Who is robbing sites?  Do they do research on the Internet to find sites?
  • - In the age of Google many sites can be seen from aerial photographs.
  • - I actually don't publish everything I know about.  Currently I'm sitting on a large number of sites that I have been asked not to publish

- Suggestions for further work:

We need an up-to-date map of the finds around Koukounara/Gouvalara (C333) in Messenia (or at least I need one.)  See #Things_Mycenologists_Say, fn. 11.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Buzzword Bingo: How to speak 'Pleiadese'

                 ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος,
                 ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἄρτον, μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;
    "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?"

    Matthew 7:9

    Like most of you I'm a huge fan of the papers and websites that come out of the Pleiades/ Pelagios/Peripleo/Recogito workshop.  It turns out though that a lot of the vocabulary that they use is from the world of Computer Science and not from the Humanities.  The Pleiades Team has never met a computer buzz word that they didn't fall madly in love with and so their writings can be ... abstruse ... and require a lot of interpretation before you can figure out what the heck they're saying.  The result is that many of you want to know more about this software effort but can't get past the vocabulary.  

    How about a nice dictionary of all these buzzwords which would help you not only to understand what PT is on about but will have the potential to lift your own writing to a whole new level of buzz-worthiness?

    Well, I've got your back. 

    This post is a vocabulary list of some of the PT's favorite buzzwords.  I've arranged them alphabetically (more or less).  In my next post I'll begin the work of relating these terms to each other and putting them into a clear context. 

    I hope that you'll play along by submitting other buzz words from their writings which I may have missed and that you will suggest corrections.  And don't let the number of terms worry you.  Like all buzz words, most of them mean exactly the same thing.  

    Some of these entries refer to articles in Wikipedia.  I know, I know.  However Wiki often deals with technical topics in clear and precise terms and that's why I used it in these instances. In a post after this I'm going to try to tell the Pleiades story in terms that everyone can understand and which will show how these vocabulary items can be understood in the Pleiades context.

    A * before a word means that it's defined elsewhere in the list.

    ARCHESThis is the Getty sponsored *ontology.
    ARCHES is described here.
    CIDOCAn *ontology.  An instance of a *Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM).  "The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships used in cultural heritage promote a shared understanding of cultural heritage information by providing a common and extensible semantic framework that any cultural heritage information can be mapped to."PGPP0002; Wikipedia provides more here.
    conceptual reference model  (CRM)A theoretical *ontology.  A controlled vocabulary with variations for many areas of professional work.  Here, in particular, the area of cultural heritage.Described by Wiki here.
    contextualisationHere it means lots of different people's data/projects hooking up to the same geographical network of nodes which  provides the context.
    An *ontology.

    *conceptual reference model

    decentralise here means 'other people do the work and then attach it to our backbone.'
    From PGPP0002 (Abstract) 

    "This paper discusses an emerging cloud of Linked Open Data in the humanities sometimes referred to as the Graph of Ancient World Data (GAWD). It provides historical background to the domain, before going on to describe the open and decentralised characteristics which have partially characterised its development."
    discoveryHere it means 'You'll have more hits to your project if you attach it to our backbone.'   No numbers are presented.PGPP0002: " ..., as well as the increased likelihood of discovery by consumers following the same API in the opposite direction."
    Dublin Core"The Dublin Core™ Metadata Element Set is a vocabulary of fifteen properties for use in resource description."PGPP0009; Their homepage is here.
    emic concepts"emic concepts, i.e. those which originated in the languages of those periods."PGPP0002
    etic concepts"etic conceptual schemes developed by contemporary scholars to describe cultural phenomena for which no linguistic evidence survives."PGPP0002
    GAWDGraph of Ancient World Data
    R. Robineau. Graph of Ancient World Data, June 2012.  See an explanatory diagram here.

    An enormous DB of geographical names which can be used as the basis for a standardized naming system which, i fit were adopted in Humanities research, all researchers would have to conform.

    "The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eleven million placenames that are available for download free of charge."
    Their primary web page is here.
    graph databaseA database that supports the establishment and modification of data that is envisaged as a collection of linked nodes.

    A paper by Pokorný is here

    Pokorný makes the important point that graph structures can be represented by relational DBs.

    "For example, we can represent a graph by tables in a relational DBMS (RDBMS) and use sophisticated constructs of SQL or Datalog to express some graph queries."
    interconnection format
    PGPP0001, This term deprecated and now replaced by the *Linked Places Format
    ISAWInstitute for the Study of the Ancient WorldPGPP0002; Homepage is here.
    International Standards Organization,

    National Information Standards Organization
    This is ominous to me.   Real scholarship has no business whatsoever being anywhere near any Standards Organization. 

    The NISO (founded in 1939) is described here and it is hand-in-glove with the International Standards Organization or ISO.  I should think that ISO wouldn't, for shame, be able to hold up its head after the disasters of the 80's and 90's.
    JiscA UK Funding body.  They provide 'digital solutions'.  God only knows what they actually do.PGPP0002; Their website is here.
    Linked Ancient World Data Institute  (LAWDI)A workshop held in 2012.  " ... the Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI), an internationally attended workshop funded by the National endowment for humanities' office of Digital humanities ... "  It was hosted by ISAW and Drew University.

    More information from the National Industrial Standards Organization (NISO) here.  This seems alarming to me.  What relevance could the NISO have to scholarship?

    LAWDI is dealt with by National Endowment for the Humanities here.
    Linked DataA structure consisting of virtual nodes of information each one of which has a connection to one or more others or is connected to by one or more others.I don't think too much harm can be caused by linking to Wikipedia in this instance.
    Linked Open DataFrom the Getty document : "When data is linked and open, it means that data is structured and published according to the principles of Linked Data, so that it can be both interlinked and made openly accessible and shareable on the Semantic Web."
    PGPP0002;  e.g. the Getty's LOD which is described here.
    These are  the documents which relate the Getty Institute vocabularies to an actual data linking standard.
    Linked Places Format
    A regimented name list:

    "Linked Places format is used to describe attestations of places in a standard way, primarily for linking gazetteer datasets."

    "LPF v1.2 is implemented in current versions of World Historical Gazetteer and Pelagios projects, including Recogito."
    Defined here.
    LinksA convention by which one entity may refer to another.
    "The purpose of the place records is to form anchor points for cross-linking between  different gazetteer datasets (no more, no less) in order to indicate similarity."   and  "defined as a relation “[...] used to link two concepts that are sufficiently similar that they can be used interchangeably in some  information retrieval applications”
    mereologicalThe study of the relationship of part to part or parts to a whole
    PGPP0002;  Defined here.

    I have to confess that this buzzword was my hands-down favorite.
    meta-Tags which are added to the semantic web in order to, among other things, establish the authoritative document from which the semantic node is derived.The main difficulty with the Semantic Web is that there is no built-in provision for sourcing subject or object nodes and no way to prevent different triples in the same system from being contradictory.  'Metatags' are layered on to try to correct this problem.  The resulting complexity which tags introduce often leads to the collapse of the system.
    namespaceHere:   A specific closed set (only these names are allowable for members that are formally connected to the specific namespace).This is also a concept in Anthropology where certain societies draw from a bounded set of names as the only proper names for their members.  See Harrison [1990].
    NEO4jA db tool that creates graph databases where the link is automatically stored with the node.  This product is orders of magnitude more powerful than anything Pleiades could ever conceivably require.

    There is a 1 minute video here which gets right to the (simple) nitty-gritty. 
    ontologyIn this instance: A formalism for defining object names and definitions unambiguously. CIDOC and Open Annotation.  Also the Getty ARCHES system.  The intent is usually to create an exhaustive *namespace for the primary entities in the Domain of Discourse.Really a 'cosmology'.  See the remarks in Cramer [2007].  [1]
    Open Annotation" ... an interoperable framework for creating associations between related resources, annotations, ... "

    More here.
    Open Annotation OntologyAn open annotation formalism that deals with objects.Online here.
    PDDLAn Open Data LicensePGPP0002
    Resource Description Framework

    An RDF is a formalism that describes how triples should wear fancy dress.  See *serialization.

    From Ontotext website:
    "RDF is a standard for data interchange that is used for representing highly interconnected data. Each RDF statement is a three-part structure consisting of resources where every resource is identified by a URI."

    From the W3C wiki:  "RDF extends the linking structure of the Web to use URIs to name the relationship between things as well as the two ends of the link (this is usually referred to as a “triple”)."
    RDF dealt with clearly on the Ontotext website here.
    RDF-based *serialization format*Serialization based on RDF triples.
    For a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of various *serialization techniques see this.
    RecogitoA note-taking applicationHomepage is here.
    RESTRepresentational State Transfer.  A set of 'best practices' for programming on the Internet.  Makes use of the ideas of *URIs, etc.
    RESTful"A web API that obeys the *REST constraints is informally described as RESTful."  God help us.
    RFCRequest for Comments.  A document which specifies a  protocol or specific form or procedure for accomplishing something.
    SemanticIn all cases under consideration this refers to 'meaning'.  That is (the machine) understanding and reacting as though Athens is a real place as opposed to understanding 'Athens' as a coded token only.   That machines cannot interpret anything in terms of semantics is what drives 99% of everything being discussed here.
    Semantic WebA computer structure optimistically thought to embody *semantic meaning but really only interlinked computer tokens.  *linked dataSee this on Wiki.
    SeneschalSemantic ENrichment Enabling Sustainability of arCHAeological Links.  Vocabularies and tools aimed at homogenization of terminology in the field of Archaeology.  Although portions of it have been re-used the project itself seems defunct.PGPP0002;  Home page for Seneschal is here.
    serialization, serialization format
    A formal representation of RDF triples.  There are several ways that this is customarily done:,   XML, RDFa, .n3, Turtle, N-Triples, N-Quads, JSON-LD, JSON-AD, HexTuples, HDT, RDF Binary Thrift. 
    After you form ('write down') your RDF triples then you'll have to 'serialize' them or convert them into some computer formalism meant to support triples.
    For a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of various serialization techniques see this.
    Shared backboneThe use of a single reference gazetteer to which all the others must link : "to choose a single “reference gazetteer” (or a small number of them) to which every specialist gazetteer should strive to link."    " ... and are available as Linked Data."PGPP0001
    skosSimple Knowledge Organization System.  An *ontology.PGPP0001; Home page for SKOS is here.
    SNAPStandards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies
    Home page is here.

    stakeholdersParticipants and contributors to a project.PGPP0002
    TEIText Encoding Initiative;  A text markup formalism.  On their site: "a consortium which collectively develops and maintains a standard for the representation of texts in digital form."
    triplethree entities although here: two objects connected by a link"A semantic triple, or RDF triple or simply triple, is the atomic data entity in the Resource Description Framework data model. As its name indicates, a triple is a set of three entities that codifies a statement about semantic data in the form of subject–predicate–object expressions". More in Wikipedia
    Turtle (RDF)
    A formalism for expressing an entity in a linked data system.
    A sample definition (for Athens) is in PGPP0001 in Figure 8.5.
    URCUniversal Resource Characteristics
    A helpful blog entry that explains URI, URN, URL is here.

    This Venn Diagram shows the relationship between URL, URN, and URI.
    URIUniversal Resource Identifier.  An identifier of a specific resource, page, book, document.  Does not necessarily contain the means or address for accessing it.  See: PGPP0001  Also PGPP0002 : "the establishment of services providing stable URIs for shared categorical and instance thesauri."

    This Venn Diagram shows the relationship between URL, URN, and URI.
    URNUniform Resource Name: A URI that uses the URN scheme.  "persistent, location-independent identifiers assigned within defined namespaces, typically by an authority responsible for the namespace, so that they are globally unique and persistent over long periods of time"
    For more on URNs see the wiki article here.

    This Venn Diagram shows the relationship between URL, URN, and URI.
    Upper Ontology"In information science, an upper ontology (also known as a top-level ontology, upper model, or foundation ontology) is an ontology (in the sense used in information science) which consists of very general terms (such as "object", "property", "relation") that are common across all domains."
    URLUniform Resource Locator.  All URLs are URIs but not all URIs are URLs. (A subset of URIs)   "special type of identifier that also tells you how to access it, such as HTTPs, FTP, etc.—like" 
    A helpful blog entry that explains URI, URN, URL is here.
    This Venn Diagram shows the relationship between URL, URN, and URI.

    Vocabulary (controlled Vocabulary)Lists of standardized and homogenized terms for every aspect of the Humanities to which researchers will be forced to conform.PGPP0002 : "Controlled vocabularies   An extremely important development has been the establishment of services providing stable URIs for shared categorical and instance thesauri.  These include place gazetteers, type classifications for coins and canonical citations for classical literature.  Without them, earlier attempts at 'interoperability' were seriously hampered by the lack of common reference terms for analogous content despite the availability of ontologies that defined shared or equivalent properties."


    [1] Cramer [2007] :  " ... what he and computer science  call "ontology" is, outside such jargon and in a more common sense  language, not an ontology, but a cosmology."  'He' is Tim Berners-Lee.


    Berman et al. [2016] : Berman, Merrick Lex and Ruth Mostern, Humphrey Southall eds. Placing Names: Enriching and Integrating Gazetteers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 97–109. 2016.

    Cramer [2007] :  Cramer, Florian.  'Animals that Belong to the Emperor',  Online here.

    PGPP0001 :  Simon, Rainer and Leif Isaksen, Elton Barker, Pau de Soto Cañamares, '8. The Pleiades Gazetteer and the Pelagios Project' in Berman et al. [2016], pp. 97-109.  Online here.

    PGPP0002 :  Isaksen, Leif and Elton Barker, Rainer Simon, Pau de Soto, 'Pelagios and the emerging graph of ancient world data', June 2014.  DOI: 10.1145/2615569.2615693.  Online here.

    PGPP0003 :  Barker, Elton, and Anna Foka, Kyriaki Konstantinidou, 'Coding for the Many, Transforming Knowledge for All: Annotating Digital Documents', Publications of the Modern Language Association, 135(1) pp. 195–202.  2020.  Online here.
                    RGPP0009 : Elliott, Tom and Sean Gillies.  'Digital Geography and Classics', 
                  Digital Humanities Quarterly(3:1) 2009.  Online here.

                 Harrison [1990] :  Harrison, Simon.  Stealing People's Names, Cambridge University Press, 1990.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

More evidence for the correct location of Kamari: Gouva (C173)

In a previous blog post I presented the results of a friend of mine, Pete, who walked the Kamari: Gouva ridge and found a plausible site for the tholos (C173) described by Simpson and Dickinson [1] and about whose location I speculated.  Now Pete and a friend of his have revisited the site (in October) and present more evidence that this is the right site for the mound.  More than that they suspect that they have also found the remains of the settlement (C1742, just to the N) described by Simpson et al. and have generously made photographs of that area available.  I have moved C1742 in the Mycenaean Atlas Project in order to bring it into conformity with these new insights.

Pete's companion is the creator of the web site 'Aristomenes the Messenian' and you can find his post about Gouva here (Greek language).  They have found remains of house walls and a large number of sherds.  'Aristomenes' presents a number of impressive photos of stone walls that might be the sought-after habitation site.  

Pete reports this in an e-mail of 11/02/2021:

"So we went to find the habitation site to the north of the supposedly destroyed tholos that was mentioned by Simpson, et al.  The field to the north has been bulldozed (as have most surrounding fields) but I am happy to report that we found a multitude of shards of a suitable era to confirm that the site may be as we suspect... "

Wall, possible LH site (C1742) just N of C173
For more photographs of this site see Aristomenes' blog here.


[1] Messenia III, 137-8.


Boyd [2001]:  Boyd, Michael John, Middle Helladic And Early Mycenaean Mortuary Practices In The Southern And Western Peloponnese, 2001   pg. 212   'Unexcavated Tholos Tombs'.  It is online here.

Cavanagh and Mee [1998]: Cavanagh, W., Mee, Ch., A private place: death in prehistoric Greece ((Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, 125)).1998.  ISBN: 91-7081-178-4

McDonald and Rapp [1972]:  McDonald, William A. and George R. Rapp, Jr.,  The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  USA. 1972.   pg. 298, no. 236, 'Kamari: Gouva'.

Messenia III:   McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson. ‘Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968’, American Journal of Archaeology (73:2) (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177., '23D. Gouva (Kamari)', pg. 137. Online here.

Pelon [1976]:  Pelon, Olivier . Tholoi, tumuli et cercles funéraires; Recherches sur les monuments funéraires de plan circulaire dan l'Égée de l’Âge du Bronze (IIIe at IIe millénaires av. J.-C).  Bibliothèques de l'École française d'Athènes et de Rome - Série Athènes, 229. 1976.   pg. 465, 'Gouva'.   It is online here.

Simpson and Dickinson [1979]:  Simpson, Richard Hope and O.T.P.K. Dickinson.  A Gazetteer of Aegean Civilization in the Bronze Age, Vol. I: The Mainland and the Islands. Paul Åströms Förlag, Goteborg. 1979.   pg. 177, 'D 236 Kamari: Gouva.'  It is online here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


S. wants to go to England and has been talking about it forever. But for the last year or so I've been watching this cop-show documentary called Inspector Morse on PBS. It documents the work of the dedicated police detectives on the Oxford, England Murder Squad. This series has been a real eye-opener; these guys do difficult and dangerous work. Hardly an episode goes by without at least three or four people being murdered


'Holy cow!' I said to S. 'If you have three people getting murdered in Oxford every week .. let's see, that's 156 people a year. Population of Oxford (I did a quick Google) is about 150,000 people .. Goodness! That makes a murder rate of 104 per 100,000 people!'


I did some more googling. 'That's almost three times the rate of South Africa which is supposed to have the highest murder rate in the world.' I was stunned.

'I don't think...' started S.

'Those British must have a lot of suppressed rage.' I did even more Googling but I couldn't find any independent murder statistics for Oxford at all!

'It's a scandal how the government suppresses this information,' I said.

'But, Bob .. ' she began to say.

'No, it's just too dangerous to go to England! In good conscience I can't expose you to that. We have to go somewhere a lot safer, like South Africa.'


I redoubled my research into the Inspector Morse documentaries and I picked up these helpful tips for those of you who want to grab Death by the whiskers and actually go to England.


1. Don't get in a car with strangers particularly if the documentary camera man can't show you who's driving.  


2. For god's sake, every time you drive, CHECK YOUR BRAKE FLUID!


3. If you're rich in Oxford then immediately fire your entire staff; cooks, drivers, maids, the works.  It's a fact that at least one of your staff is the rightful inheritor to your estate and is just waiting for a chance to bump you off.


4. Stay away from Professors (apparently there's a large school in Oxford); one of them is likely to be your cousin and is just waiting to get rid of you in order to inherit your money.


5. Avoid fox-hunts like the plague.  In fact, anyone on a horse is likely to be bad news.  


6. Particularly be on the look-out for jovial British ex-colonels over 50.  They're poison, sometimes literally.


7. Stay away from people with funny looking weapons.  These appear to be the murder weapons of choice in Oxford.  Inspector Morse has documented grisly cases of murders with cross-bows, halberds, bows and arrows, and garrottes.


8. And remember, if you're approached by a bum, get away from him immediately.  He's actually your dear old dad whom you've never seen but your Mom had an affair with him in “the '60's” and he's going to screw up your claim to the estate.  In fact, avoid anyone connected to “the '60's”.


9. Most importantly, no taxidermists, ever.


S. and I finally decided on east Los Angeles for our holiday get-away this year.


'I love you, Bob.  You're always looking out for me', said S. giving me a little nuzzle.


'Someone has to, doll', I said. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Short Draft Ancient MakerSpaces Talk

 [Page 1 - Title Page]

The Mycenaean Atlas Project is a relational database dedicated to storing accurate locations of Late Helladic find spots in continental Greece and the Aegean.   It has taken six years to reach this point; the effort is entirely self-funded.  

[Splash Page Slide]

Shortly after beginning the DB work I began to develop the software to put the DB online.  This is the site; there is open access to this site - anyone may use it.  It currently hosts nearly 4500 site pages as well as 6500+ sites - not Bronze Age - that I call Features.  These include things such as towns, bridges, churches, etc.

The use of the site is straight-forward.  The easiest way is to enter a site name such as 'Mycenae' or 'Tiryns' in the search box and then click on the returned link.  This will bring you to the correct site page.  The site page itself has a search box so that you can, if you wish, continue with another search or you may return to the control page.


The tool allows quick reference to specific individual sites.  It should allow researchers at whatever professional level to quickly investigate the several sites which characterize Bronze Age Greece.  These goals include allowing users to have accurate coordinates for sites, to generate reports, and to use the DB in follow-on uses.

It features an intuitive user-interface that allows for easy exploration of the BA landscape.  There is a dedicated page for each of the 4400+ sites.  The DB is accessible in several ways which include a nearly-completed API.  Those researchers who would like to obtain the full DB should contact me through e-mail.

[Slide of control page]

This is the central (or 'control') page for the site.  It provides a variety of search methods for zeroing in on the site(s) you would like to investigate.  Besides a General Search that allows you to search for any string there are other search types
  • Search by region (2 ways)
  • Search by combination of region, ceramic horizon, and type
  • Search by well-known or important sites
  • Search by gazetteer contribution ('literature')
  • Search by habitation size (sq. m.)
  • Search by elevation range (m.)
[Slide of a single site page]


Each site has its own dedicated page with
  • Locational information
  • Accuracy indicator
  • Elevation
  • Type of site and finds
  • Ceramic horizons associated to the site

On the right-hand side of the individual site page we have the
  • Location Notes
  • Site Bibliography

[Slide of four individual site tools]

Tools for individual sites
  • Intervisibility: This shows all the sites in the DB which are intervisible with your chosen site.  It looks out 6.5 km.
  • Aspect and Slope: This analyzes the slopes at the site and tries to show which direction the site faces
  • Nearest neighbors:   This draws a map which shows your site's nearest neighbors along with the direction to those sites.
  • Three dimensional modelling of the site environment:  There are 3D terrain models for most of the sites; these were prepared for me by Xavier Fischer of

[Slide of four types of analysis for groups of sites]

Groups of Sites

In addition to single sites you can also analyze sites as groups, e.g. all peak sanctuaries or all sites in Messenia.  You define these groups from the Control page.  If you want to group sites from certain regions then you can choose those regions from the handy thumbnail maps on the Control page.  Once your group is created you can generate group reports:
  • Group aspect: This report looks at the slopes and aspects of all sites in the selected group
  • Gazetteer: This deceptively simple list of all sites in the group turns out to be among the most useful reports.  The gazetteer has info on each site along with a link to each site in the group.
  • Elevation: The elevation report lists the elevation for each site along with a histogram and elevation graph for the group.  It also provides other statistics.
  • Specialized Bibliography: After you've selected a group the Bibliography Report will generate a list of sources that were used to create that group.
  • Chronology: This generates a chart of all the ceramic horizons that are characteristic of the group you selected.  

[Slide of data sources: BIBLIO]

I began this Atlas with a copy of Simpson's Mycenaean Greece from 1981.  At the start I supposed that I had no need for a bibliography table in the DB.  Simpson would be enough.  By the time I reached my third site I had seen the error of my ways; at the present time the bibliography contains 1700+ titles and may be seen by anyone using the website.  On the Controls page you may examine the Atlas' coverage of any of the 40 most significant Gazetteers used in creating the DB.  The sites were located in various ways, through gazetteers with good locational information, examination of maps such as Topoguide, Topostext, ... even user contributions such as Wikimapia.  On my blog there are many examples of the techniques I used to find specific sites.  The internet has given wide access to the scholarly literature and many a dissertation was examined for information.   Each site was, if possible, confirmed in several ways before being put in the Atlas.

There is also a powerful search facility and an extended help page.

You can search  by any string and especially by the place keys.  The results come back as links to the page on which that string appears.  This includes find spots and periods, author and book names, contents of notes, etc.

Summary and Future

API or Application Programming Interface.  

1. There are any number of online databases that can be integrated to this software.  When you design software you should take note of other databases that can enhance your own product.  The elevation.api Interface is an example of this but there are other DBs such as hydrography or geology that may add to and enhance your product.

2. One use of this DB may be to use the tables independently in other completely different DBs.  You may for example be developing a DB on Mycenaean weapons.   In order to express the location of these finds you will have access to a kind of Mycenaean Site API that would 'serve' locations to online clients.  The API should be able to serve elevations, lat/lon pairs in several types, alternate names, lists of ceramic horizons, biblio names, etc.

3. It's not clear to me that for a product of this type a simple lat/lon to name pairing will be adequate.  Sites need a story to go along with them.  An approach like Topostext.  

4. In the area of ancient history, ethnography, linguistic studies, etc. (everything having to do with antiquity) it is necessary, like the hard sciences, to 'save the data'.  We cannot stake the future of knowledge representation and programming in this area to 'semantic networks' or 'webs' with their suffocating 'ontologies' or 'controlled vocabularies'.  Such things are advocated by some, not for any reward for the Humanities, but solely for the convenience of the computer.

[Thanks to contributors]

Photographs of section Pe of the Cyclopean Wall

 I mentioned in a previous post that my associate, Mr. Peter Barkevics, has confirmed the location of segment Pe of the 'Cyclopean'...