Bible and archaeology news
Digital Humanities research—research that employs cutting-edge computing technologies to study disciplines in the humanities—has allowed researchers to examine ancient political structures with a broader perspective. So believes Kristina Neumann, doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati, who created an interactive map illustrating ancient Antioch’s changing political and economic relationships over time using the popular Google Earth software. Her research, described in a press release from the University of Cincinnati, reveals that ancient Antioch—a Syrian city that played a vital role in the emergence of Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity—had greater political influence over the region and a wider trading network than previously thought.
After leaving Antioch, Paul traveled to the heart of Anatolia. Take a look at the route of his missionary journey in a web-exclusive slideshow of photographs by BAR author Mark R. Fairchild.
In an email to Bible History Daily, Neumann explained that her map visualizes what scholars have long theorized—that Antioch was well-connected with the rest of the Mediterranean. Neumann observed that Antiochene coins moved in a strong progression out of the city and east along the Orontes River during the first century B.C.E. through the first century C.E., while foreign coins excavated at Antioch originated along the coast of Asia Minor and into the southern Levant. The patterns that emerge from Neumann’s map illustrate Antioch’s continued influence over select regions and cities in spite of its absorption into the Roman state—and that it took much longer for Rome to rein in the influence Antioch held as the former capital of the Seleucid Kingdom.
Neumann describes how Google Earth Pro has benefited her project:
On a macro scale, Google Earth helps me take account of a vast territory and large chronological periods. You can actually see how Antioch’s original territory as Seleucid capital is hedged in once the Romans enter the area. Instead of imperial capital, Antioch’s coins show the effects of becoming a provincial capital.
On a micro scale, Google Earth allows a more nuanced look at the material of the city and region. I can easily chart the origin for all foreign coins found in the 1930s Princeton excavations at Antioch. This shows how accessible Antioch was to the eastern Mediterranean coast.
Neumann presented her findings at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Chicago last week in a talk titled “Using Google Earth to Visualize an Ancient City’s Influence: Roman Antioch.” She was assisted in her research by University of Cincinnati senior research associate John Wallrodt.
Interested in archaeological technology? Visit the BAS Archaeological Technology page for more articles on the 21st-century archaeological toolkit, as well as a FREE eBook on Cyber-Archaeology.
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