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Online Presence of the Corpus of Ancient Sarcophagi

The Research Archive participates in the new conception of the Corpus of Ancient Sarcophagi as a part of a cooperation with the German Archaeological Institute and is responsible for the technological back up of a coherent online accessibility of the material. The Corpus was designed in the year 1870 by the German Archaeological Institute as a collection and publication of sarcophagi of the Roman imperial age. In the first experimental phase, which was financed by the University of Cologne and the DAI, an adequate software technological structuring is to be drafted and trialed on select categories. For this, the large and sometimes already digitalized photo holdings on ancient sarcophagi of the research archive can be used.

Making the recyclability of the material and the formalization an editorial principle is a first maxim. Thus far, the editing of the volumes was structured in a way that the summarizing of documentation of literature and photographs was done by each author himself/herself. Because of this an overarching object collection or index is missing. This creates a serious conceptional deficit because the collected information, which is not in the same format as the already published volumes, is lost. This makes it an editorial problem that is only increased by the advancing digitalization of information. The material documentation will be formalized in ARACHNE for all new volumes so that the person bound change in the editing can be overcome much easier and that at least the produced information can be accessed through the database for research, even If the project is not finished.

The second maxim is the textual conception of the web presence, in which the content-based, functional and regional-agricultural context are further taken into account than with the previously used principle, which has been changed only a bit since the 19th century. This concept examines each mythological figure or type after the other.

The basis is a “fixed” website of the Sarcophaguscorpus of the DAI. It contains “fixed” sites with a persistent URL for each volume:

  • For already published volumes, the automatically associated new finds from ARACHNE that only became known after the publishing of the volume
  • For already published volumes a successively retrospective digitalization of the published material
  • For newly published volumes with automatically associated comprehensive documentation of the material from ARACHNE
  • “fixed” sites with a persistent URL for the navigation only within the collection of sarcophagi
  • by functional contexts, regions, chronological criteria, topic or combinations of those 4 categories

In a future perspective these materials of the Sarcophaguscorpus are highlighted by several criteria: tradition, international meaning, homogeneity in the category of the material, high measure of chronological and textual identifiability of single objects, ability to contextualized of scenes with several figures. They make up an especially suitable field to display the special structures of discourse in the web by the use of metadata models that stem from information technologies.

Link: Corpus der Antiken Sarkophage

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Ortwin Dally, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Förtsch, Prof. Dr. Henner v. Hesberg

Cooperation: German Archaeological Institute (DAI)