Digital glyptics: new approaches to the study of stamp-seals from the Southern Levant

S2: Archaeology, Open Science & the Digital Humanities | Standard presentation

The paper presents ongoing research of the Swiss-Israeli project “Stamp-seals of the Southern Levant – A Multi-faceted Prism for Studying Entangled Histories in an Interdisciplinary Perspective”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. In this presentation, we focus on aspects of data visualization and analysis, following a digital humanities approach.

The project’s database comprises ca. 12,000 items unearthed in controlled excavations both in Israel/Palestine and Jordan. It is based on Othmar Keel’s pioneering work, whose printed “Corpus of stamp-seal amulets” comprises ca. 7500 entries. This corpus has now been fully digitized and is being complemented by the addition of the remaining ca. 5000 items by an international team of scholars.

The implementation of the large collaborative database raised several practical and methodological challenges related to topics such as taxonomy, chronology, clustering or spatial distribution. We addressed these challenges by developing digital tools, which will be show-cased in the presentation.