The Athenian Project

Status: Available/Completed
Type: USRA/4080/408*…
Professor: Cercone, Nick
Research Area:
Digitising Ancient Data
Year: 2015

The Athenians Project is a multi-year, ongoing study of the persons of ancient Athens.

1. We determine the appropriate mechanism to illuminate and digitize a large number of “squeezes”, which are formed through beating, by means of a specially designed brush, soft, wet, moldable paper, often filter paper obtained from a chemistry laboratory, into inscriptions where letters have been carved in shallow cuttings below the flat surface of the stone; when dried the squeeze thereby becomes a 3-dimensional mirror-image of the original document and the letters now appear raised in relief.

We catalogue what we have found. There are several thousand squeezes available to us, and in recent years they have increased in value. Because there is physical contact between the paper plus brush and the surface of the inscription, in the making of a squeeze, slight damage, virtually imperceptible with a single impression, is caused to the surface of the stone. The result has been that the taking of squeezes is now generally banned, except under very special circumstances, by the governments and ministries in charge of antiquities. By appropriately illuminating and scanning these squeezes we will be able to catalogue and put them on a website for all humanities researchers to share. Currently these scholars must travel to specialized collections in museums and libraries in order to study the squeezes.

2. We construct an interactive map, or series of maps, of ancient Athens and Attica for humanities researchers to query in their study of ancient Greek culture