Corpus of Ancient Sarcophagi

to sarcophagus-browser

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

Website of the Corpus of Ancient Sarcophagi

In cooperation with the German Archaeological Institute, the CoDArchLab takes part in the re-conception of the Corpus of Ancient Sarcophagi and from an IT point of view, assumes responsibility for backing up an online-presence of the material, which is to be as coherent as possible. The Corpus was determined for collection and publication of sarcophagi of the Roman Empire by the German Archaeological Institute in the year 1870. An adequate, software based structuring is to be developed in a pilot phase financed by the University of Cologne and arbitrarily implemented on chosen categories. It is also possible to use the great, partly digitalized photo holdings on ancient sarcophagus plastic of the CoDArchLab. One leading aspect is to make the formalization and recyclability of the elicitation of the material a central editorial principle. Up to now the editing of the volumes was handled so that each author compiled the documentation in literature and photographs himself. Therefore the institute lacks an overall object collection or file. This poses a serious conceptual deficit, not only editorially but also for and in times of digitalized information, since the collected information outside of the format of the published volumes went lost. Thus all material conditioning of new volumes is to be conducted in ARACHNE by a formalized process, so that personal changes during processing are more bearable. That way it is possible to make the already processed information available to science in the database even if the project was closed. A second leading aspect is the substantial conception of web processing, in which the functional and regional scenic contexts, regarding contents, are to be considered more strongly than by the previously applied principle, which has barely been changed since the 19th century and treats one mythological figure or category after the other. The footing for this is a “fixed” website of the DAI for the corpus of sarcophagi. Among other things, it contains “fixed” appropriate pages with persistent URL for individual volumes:

  • Initially, for previously published volumes, the automatically allocated new finds, which were extracted from ARACHNE and unveiled only after the volume was published
  • A gradually performed, retrospective digitalization of the issued material for previously published volumes
  • For newly published volumes with automatically allocated total documentation of the material, extracted from ARACHNE
“Fixed” appropriate pages with persistent URL for navigation within the sarcophagi only:
  • By functional contexts, regions, chronological criteria, themes or else combinations of these four criteria
The material of the sarcophagus corpus seems to be prominently distinguished by several criteria: Tradition, international significance, generic homogeneity of the material, a high degree of chronological and contextual determinability of the individual objects and the capability to contextualize multi-figured scenes. Therefore it is a particularly suitable domain to represent the technical discourse structure by using metadata models from the information technology.
Prof. Dr. Dietrich Boschung, Dr. Alexandra Busch, Dr. Martin Langner

Museo Gregoriano Profano, Funerary Monuments 3. Sarcophagi and Reliefs of the Equites Singulares.

By request of the Vatican Museum, the sarcophagi were also made subject to the catalogue processing. Their argument for including the sarcophagi in the publication series was that they had only partly been registered by the sarcophagi corpus of the German Archaeological Institute, provided that they fit into the previously discussed iconographical subject area. But a general pattern for these monuments is not available, even though some of them originate from closed necropolis contexts. Special focus is made on the study of these contexts in particular. They would find a reasonable place within the catalogue of the Sculpture of the Museo Gregoriano Profano, which has been adopted by the CodArchLab. According to Prof. Dr. G- Koch this would not cause any interference of interests on his behalf. The reliefs of the equites singulares offer the possibility to get to know an intensely studied group of Roman officials in their urban monumental representation, especially in the northwestern provinces.