From Paper to Bytes. The New Digital Corpus of Stamp-Seals from the Southern Levant

Stefan Münger (University of Bern)

Friday, 6 October 2023 | 3:30–4:00 pm

Abstract

The «Stamp seals from the Southern Levant» project is an interdisciplinary and international project that aims to build on the ground-breaking research initiated by Othmar Keel through his Corpus of Stamp-Seal Amulets from Palestine/Israel (1995-2017) by not only finishing the printed corpus but also engaging in the Digital Humanities transition. The data from over 10,000 stamp seals has been translated into an updated and expandable digital format that will allow for future contributions from scholars worldwide and will serve as a sustainable reference tool for various disciplines, including the archaeologies of the Mediterranean cultures and beyond. 

This paper will first outline the development of a data model suitable for glyptic studies that resulted from the transfer from Keel’s analog corpus to a fully relational and non-redundant digital format. This process that involved ca. 20 staff members over the past four years led to significant changes in our approach to the accession of glyptic data, to the expansion and re-analysis of the original datasets and to a new understanding how this data is then interpreted and presented to the wider scholarly and public communities.

Additionally, some of the major challenges encountered through this process will be highlighted, including, but not limited to: the standardisation of language and establishment of a shared taxonomy; the integration and interpretation of glyptic typologies; and the creation of a research-focused user interface.

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