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Timothy Shea spoke on the current development behind the “Spatial Antiquity Lab,” which aims to be a permanent space dedicated to research and teaching in spatial humanities and focused on the study of ancient cities, urbanism, and regional cultural landscapes. As an example of the projects the lab could support, he discussed his current research, which studies spatial distribution of tombstones to identify how cemeteries were organized and how people were honored after death. After systematically mapping the location of every tombstone in an Athens cemetery in ArcGIS Pro (UNC Software Distribution), Shea spatially organized his dataset by qualifiers such as inscriptions, dedications, heritage of the deceased, and materials used in construction, and was able to discern that immigrants from the same regions buried in close proximity to one another. Shea created a parallel database to visualize the originating locations of the immigrants and the locations of their tombstones, which allowed him to further understand the experience of these immigrants and their communities — questions that could not be asked without the use of spatial analysis. Shea finished his talk by stressing the importance of collaboration, human connection, and the free-flowing exchange of ideas in research, both inside and outside the university. 

Click here to view the talk on YouTube.


Timothy Shea, Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology

Department: Department of Classics | Faculty Profile

Featured on: January 26, 2022 (Event Page)

Session Title: Series Kickoff: The Usual and Unusual Suspects (Event Recap

Tools, Information, and Resources:

  • ArcGIS Pro | 2D, 3D & 4D GIS Mapping Software: ArcGIS Pro, the powerful single desktop GIS application, is a feature-packed software developed with enhancements and ideas from the ArcGIS Pro user community. ArcGIS Pro supports data visualization; advanced analysis; and authoritative data maintenance in 2D, 3D, and 4D.
  • Desert Networks Project: “Desert Networks” is a scientific research project funded by the European Research Council. The project focuses on the physical, economic and social networks that have linked the Egyptian Eastern Desert and have enabled people to survive in a hostile environment and to exploit its resources for almost two millennia, from the mid-second millennium BC until the late third-early fourth century AD.
  • Digital Athens (Vrysaki) Project: The Digital Athens Project began in the fall of 2014. The initial aim of this project was to produce a comprehensive digital map in ArcGIS of the archeological remains of ancient Athens uncovered both in systematic and rescue excavations. ​​The next phase of the project, which began in the summer of 2020, is focused on the history of excavations in the Athenian Agora, initiated in the 1930s under the auspices of the ASCSA.
  • Pleiades: Pleiades gives scholars, students, and enthusiasts worldwide the ability to use, create, and share historical geographic information about the ancient world in digital form. At present, Pleiades has extensive coverage for the Greek and Roman world, and is expanding into Ancient Near Eastern, Byzantine, Celtic, and Early Medieval geography.