Project Components

Institutional Context



Project Components

    The ASCSA and Tulane University propose jointly to produce the following computerized materials to make the results of the excavations of the Athenian Agora widely available:

    The CD-ROM will be useful for classroom units in a great variety of courses, ranging from surveys of Western civilization and classical archaeology to seminars on various aspects of ancient Greek life, including politics, religion, economy, society, and art.  Included in it will be a great variety and amount of information, including excavation reports, literary and epigraphical sources in the original and in translation, interpretive essays, and ca. four thousand digitized images, including color and black-and-white photographs, plans, and drawings.  The information in the CD-ROM will be accessible by three "paths":  topographical, chronological, and topical.  The design for the CD-ROM has already been tested successfully in a pilot project at Tulane on the site of Pompeii.

    The Web site will focus on the Agora of the 5th century B.C., the Golden Age of Classical Athens.  It will contain a subset of the information available on the CD, focusing on material that will be of particular use in teaching Greek civilization in the classical period.  The Web site will be connected to a MOO, or Multi-User Object-Oriented Domain, which will enable students and their instructors, as well as the general public, to experience the Agora in a form of "virtual reality."  Visitors to the site will be able to "walk" through the various buildings of the Agora, see the details of buildings there, and pick up and manipulate objects through Quick-Time VR "movies."  They will be able to meet and converse with each other in the MOO, as well as with virtual characters or "bots" created for the virtual reality experience.  So, for example, a student could meet up with Socrates in the Prison, and discuss with him the reasons for his sentence.  The Agora Web site and MOO will be modeled on VROMA, a program already successfully implemented through an NEH grant.

    The image database will include all the images produced for the project, including digital photographs specifically taken for this purpose and those scanned in from the Agora archives.  It will form the nucleus for a database of all the material in these archives, which will prove an enormous boon to scholars of classical archaeology.  Regular additions to the database can be made until it comprises the entire collection of the several hundred thousand images currently on file.

    The digital format of these materials makes possible the inclusion of far more information, particularly visual data, than ever possible in print publication.  In addition, this format enables sophisticated cross-referencing and is easily updatable.  The Agora Project will serve as a model for other excavations to publish their findings in this format and make their results available to a wide audience of those interested in the humanities.