Exploring digital tools and platforms for individual research of history and antiquity

Digital history, computational archaeology, digital heritage — the digitization of humanities research has inevitably «arrived» at the doorstep of disciplines dealing with the past, both recent and long gone. And though its approach has been gradual, many institutions have unfortunately displayed how ill-equipped they remain to address it. With ancient civilizations departments often lacking funds for even their regular curriculum, DH-oriented courses for their undergraduate and graduate students, or even more practical tutorials for their postgraduate researchers,
remain scant. While institutions may have forcibly remained stagnant, scholars themselves have stepped up and adapted to an ever-changing research landscape and job market. This has resulted in the phenomenon of self-trained, self-tested «amateur» users, with trained scholars ending up feeling like non-experts in tools they regularly (and competently) use.

Aim of the workshop 

This workshop is conceptualized as an informal scientific exchange on precisely these digital helpers and infrastructures we use both every day and for specific needs, where no tool is too rudimentary to work with as long as it is suitable – everyone is aware of the great potential and silent power of a simple collaboration platform like the online «Google Suite» (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms et al.), but also the degree of competency one can achieve with a system like QGIS. Seeing this as a broad exhibition of available tools, we will span open-source tools and platforms, data management structures, universal implementations (e.g. IIIF) all the way to actual (geographic) mapping and visualization of research results, connections and networks.

Tentative programme 

Preliminarily, we will structure the half-day into the sections “Doing/During research” and “Presenting research”, but of course these two sections bleed into one another depending on the tool, a point which we will address and discuss during the workshop. The participating scholars will be contributing as much insight to the workshop as the organizers, who aim to provide a receptacle for exchange and community among researchers facing many of the same issues across disciplines/subjects and who have developed their own unique solutions using digital tools. The workshop as such is therefore not just intended for historians, archaeologists, philologists and the like, but the case studies we will look at will derive from and focus on ancient civilizations. Participants from all backgrounds and prior experience are welcome to join. Participants signing up will also be asked to submit one or more examples for tools they currently utilize or have previously used in their research, to get an idea of their experiences and to include in the plenary parts of the workshop. Additionally, they can pose a question on the topic in advance which will either be addressed individually or be discussed amongst participants to exchange tips and opinions. All of the tools/platforms presented and collected throughout the workshop will be assembled and made available online (e.g. Github, Notion) after the DHNB2023 conference, to properly harness the results of the exchange.




Victoria G. D. Landau is pursuing a PhD in Digital Humanities on Cultural Heritage and Data Management at the DHLab Basel. Following her BA in Ancient Civilizations and Media Studies, she completed her MA in Ancient History and Digital Humanities, focusing on issues of interdisciplinary research, joint databases, and universal standards available to aid researchers in appropriately handling material for long-term maintenance and access. She is a research assistant in the ERC project «Deconstructing Early Christian Metanarratives: Fourth-Century Egyptian Christianity in the Light of Material Evidence» (DEChriM) at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society (Oslo).

Sarah Siegenthaler is a PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the Basel Doctoral Program in Ancient Civilizations. Her research focuses on manifestations of poverty in Roman urban spaces, using both textual and archaeological evidence to trace and locate lives in destitution, gaining deeper insight into the layers of Roman society. She has a BA in Ancient Civilizations and Art History, and a MA in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, during which she investigated the lives of individuals performing forms of street-begging in the urban cityscape. She has experience in the standardized assembly of large numismatic datasets, as well as evaluating and improving database contents on archaeological and textual artefacts.

Session Format

The workshop will be held online via Zoom.

Details will be communicated in due time.


Please register here: https://vlandau.notion.site/Workshop-Exploring-Digital-Tools-and-Platforms-for-Individual-Research-of-History-and-Antiquity-2cc4fdf1d3ba420493fd39fcb0fb3bef 

Date & Time

9 March 2023, 09:00-12:00 CET