Much of the western worlds religious history and culture, stems from the history of the ancient Holy Lands. The lands of the three great world faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam blend and side step each other and the history prior to the three faiths also underpins the area, so it is exciting to look at a project that attempts to resolve the regions complex history by creating a digital atlas of the Holy Land, curated from a mass of archaeological work.
The digital atlas of the Holy Land website.
It is not the prettiest interface in the world but the scope of what this project is attempting makes it worth the effort of getting past the home page.
The atlas is a collaborative project drawing from a wide range of specialists to develop exciting new digital, interactive tools for collecting and distributing large, ramified, spatial data sets. For archaeologists, setting things down in space and time is critical and this work uses all manner of collected data and brings them together in one framework. Within the framework of a map so much data can be placed in layers connected only by location and where possible date-able data.
It is an approach that could be used by many such projects, a place to drop in your expertise and allow it to connect with others who are studying different aspects of the same thing. Music to the ears of Intriguing History because we have been proposing this mapping of data as a point of connecting disparate historical data for a while now.
Those involved have developed this international project using an array of tools including, Global Information Systems (GIS), Google maps and Google Earth, plus what must be an incredible number of different data sets to bring together expertise from many disciplines. They have uploaded tens of thousands of archaeological sites, photographs and maps to the atlas which you can search at will.
The stated intention is that the atlas will ‘harvest, analyse and disseminate settlement pattern and new archaeological data for each key period of cultural change in the region‘.
This ambitious project is a bit clunky for the everyday user but if you are a student of this area of the world or are student of GIS then the scope of this project will amaze you and certainly should inspire you to the art of the possible.