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Archaeologists benefit from second grant to digitize data from Lycoming College field site in Cyprus

June 14, 2018

Pamela Gaber, Ph.D., with Lycoming College students at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute in Cyprus
Pamela Gaber, Ph.D., with Lycoming College students at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute in Cyprus

As archaeologists continue to catalog thousands of artifacts digitally from Lycoming College’s excavations at the ancient city site of Idalion in the Republic of Cyprus, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation has made a second grant to the College in support of the online publication of multiple maps, photographs, and other data currently only in existence in hardcopy. The foundation has awarded Lycoming a $12,000 grant for the completion of a discrete portion of a digitization and publication project piloted in 2016.

"The support of the prestigious Delmas Foundation will allow the findings of the Idalion dig to be studied by the international archeological community. Ancient culture meets cutting-edge modern technology," said Phil Sprunger, Ph.D., provost and dean of the college at Lycoming.

Since the early 1990s, the archaeological project at the site of ancient Idalion has functioned as a field school that has attracted students from as far as China, Poland, and South Africa. Under the direction of Pamela Gaber, Ph.D., who serves as the principal investigator for the digital publication project, students have worked on- and off-site, contributing to the preservation of the history and culture of this major ancient city-kingdom. The focus of the current grant-funded project, the East Terrace workshop complex, consists of a 10-trench area within a sacred grove dedicated to the god Adonis. Gaber’s purpose in publishing data collected from excavations at this site is to highlight the daily activities and practices of ancient Idalion residents who worked and worshipped in the sacred grove.

The data contained in the field notebooks are all currently archived in Cyprus, with the only other copies stored at Lycoming College. This limits scholarly access to a wide breadth of data concerning Cypriot cultural history. The publication of these data will answer a variety of research questions for students and professionals, act as a primary source for many scholarly publications, and will enlighten academic interpretation of the ancient world.

The pilot project involved the successful entry of 34 field notebooks into ArcheoLINK, an archeological information system that can open and export many different file types of data and integrates geographic information systems (GIS) data. This year’s second phase of the project will involve the entry of data collected from earlier notebooks, the collection of 600 photographs and 300 drawings, and the creation of maps using GIS.

Once digitalized, the data and images collected will be published on Open Context (opencontext.org), a peer-reviewed online publication platform that allows for incremental data uploads and continuous feedback and review. Open Context holds data entry to the same high publication standards as research publications, and more importantly, it allows ease of access to a wealth of primary data.

Archaeologists are currently working on the project in Cyprus for the remainder of June. Their work will be followed up by seven months spent in the United States preparing and reviewing the data and publishing it to Open Context.

Arial view of Lycoming College football field