Unlocking the Hidden Value of Seals: New Methodologies for Historical Research in Byzantine Studies (DigiByzSeal)

Byzantine #Roman #art #archaeology #architecture #history #culture #heritage #highereducation #Ireland #Christian #Church #liturgy #Crusades #Templars #Hospitallers #Antiquity #Medieval #music #Greek #seals

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– Funded by the Franco-German research council (ANR-DFG) – Start: April 2022 (3 years). 
– PIs: Prof. Dr. Claudia Sode (Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Cologne), Dr. Claes Neuefeind (Cologne Center for eHumanities), Dr. Alessio Sopracasa (CNRS – UMR 8167 Orient et Méditerranée, Paris).

Compared to the Classical and Western medieval world, Byzantium suffers from a lack of documentary evidence: however, while very few documents have been preserved, the seals which accompanied them have survived in large numbers and hold a great deal of information. These seals are the object of research of Byzantine sigillography, but their dispersal in scattered collections and the absence of widely shared standards for their publication has hindered the exploitation of their full potential for Byzantine Studies. The aim of this Franco-German project is to make use of the new capacities of digital presentation offered by the Digital Humanities to redress this situation, and to enable new understandings of Byzantium by transforming Byzantine sigillography. The core of the project will be the scholarly edition and publication of four major collections of seals (ca. 4.000 seals). On these collections extensive historical and sigillographic analysis will be performed. Encoding these collections will enable us to build on work already done by the team to develop an encoding standard for seals (SigiDoc 1.0) and we will transform the reading and presentation of individual seals using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), leveraging a range of resources to draw on external information and making each item available as Linked Open Data. Finally, we will develop and test the use of a common centralized sigillographic portal allowing for global cross-corpus search. Concern is frequently expressed about the sustainability of digital resources. We aim to address this in two ways: our resources will be conserved by the TGIR Huma-Num and the Data Center for the Humanities (DCH) in Cologne. But, perhaps more importantly, we will ensure extensive knowledge exchange; we will work with curators to enable them to manage and enrich their holdings and to reach a wider public; and we will train scholars, curators, and students to use all our tools for their own research, to create individual publications which can be searched through our common sigillographic portal. In this way we aim to embed new tools and new skills within the study of Byzantium.


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=NfWkEAAAQBAJ&pli=1 https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445327630 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B92V9VYF Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445329346 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=gfWkEAAAQBAJ https://www.amazon.com/dp/1535307269 ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445329553 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=j_WkEAAAQBAJ https://www.amazon.com/dp/1535324376 ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445320705 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YfWkEAAAQBAJ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MB99NWP ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445354716 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=ChilEAAAQBAJ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MG1YZ8W ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445397300 https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=PhilEAAAQBAJ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MYXX9GM ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-early-byzantine-christian-church/id1023114473 ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. https://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/10.1484/J.BAIEP.5.107536 Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385. https://doi.org/10.20935/AL4385

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