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Agence Nationale de la Recherche Région Aquitaine
Ecole Française de Rome Ministère des affaires étrangères

Programme supported by the ANR


The Computerized Atlas of the Ancient Adriatic

1. Objectives

The project aims to create an overall map of the Ancient Adriatic, ranging from Albania to Apulia. This map is intended to provide an overview of research through cartographic support in the form of an online geographic information system (GIS).

The geographic limits of the Adriatic study area are fixed along the watershed boundaries of the Italian Peninsula, the Alps, and the Balkans. In the Pô Valley, the Atlas covers parts of the Oriental Region including present day Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. Chronologically, the project examines a period ranging from the 11th century BC up to the 8th Century AD with maps outlining each major phase in time: the Protohistoric (3) the Late Republic (1), the High-Empire (1), and the Late Antiquity (2).


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The Adriatic study area: Geographic constraints of the computerized atlas for the Ancient Adriatic.

The Atlas aims to serve as a map of major sites, documented by written and/or archaeological sources. It is not designed to act as an overall archaeological map as this would be impossible to establish given our current knowledge, the scale, and the expanse of the region. For each site, we possess an archaeological and historic review accompanied by, where necessary, illustrated documents with written and bibliographical references. Files for each site will be updated at regular intervals and supporting thematic maps, in particular those relating to the economy (the movement of products, trade routes), onomastics, and religion, maintained by different specialists in their respective fields.

The Atlas will be at the disposal of the public (researchers and the larger public) through the internet. The languages utilised here are those of the participants and English. When consulting the site, users will have the option to choose between Albanian, English, Croatian, French, Italian, and Slovenian.


2. Project phases


  • Starting the Project

The project was launched in 2010 following a March 2009 international round table in Rome which defined the guiding terms and principles of the Atlas.

In the same year, after meetings in Trieste (January), and Ljubljana (June), a database was developed by Giovanni Zorzetti (Trieste).


  • Development of the Geomatic Tools

Since Feb 1st 2011, a team comprised of members from Ausonius (UMR 5607 - CNRS / University of Bordeaux 3) and the Digital Data Center M2ISA (Methodologies for the Modeling of Geographic Information Applied to Human and Social Sciences) in the CEIAS (The Center for the Study of India and South Asia, UMR 8564 - CNRS / EHESS), has been working to develop the following geomatic tools :

-  The creation of a conceptual data model produced by applying the HBDC method (Hypergraph Based Data Structure) and the implementation of the geodatabase (ArcGIS software) created by the Ausonius Geographer and Postdoctoral Fellow, Dominique Baud.

-  The creation of a raster basemap combining imagery of the Adriatic (Landsat satellite imagery, 30m resolution) and the Istrian Peninsula (SPOT 5 images, 2.5m resolution, ISIS of the CNES program) created by Peter Pehani of the Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Ljubljana.

-  A geoportal by Francoise Pirot and Tarek Sboui of the Digital Data Center M²ISA.


  • The Choice of Ancient Istria as a Test Zone

In Parallel, the research centers in Trieste, Ljubljana, and Pula, in collaboration with Ausonius and the French School of Rome, are completing the coverage of the Istrian Peninsula, including territories belonging to the ancient cities of Tergeste (Trieste), Parentium (Poreč), Pola (Pula), Albona (Labin), and Flanona (Plomin), by populating the database created by G. Zorzetti.

The computerized Atlas of Istria (maps and database) will be available soon for consultation through our portal.


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Test Zone : Istrian Atlas.


  • The Atlas of the Oriental Adriatic

After Istria, the project will be replicated in 2012 and 2013 for Liburnia and Dalmatia by the University of Zadar under the direction of Slobodan Čače, and for Albania by the Archaeological Institute of Tirana under the direction of Shpresa Gjungecaj.


{mediabox src=images/Images-site/en_carte_3.jpg|t=Computerized Atlas of the Oriental Adriatic::Areas of Focus 2011-2013}Zones à traiter de 2011 à 2013{/mediabox}

Computerized Atlas of the Oriental Adriatic : Zone to be processed 2011-2013


  • The Atlas of the Western Adriatic

For their part, the Italian centers involved in the project will cover their respective regions by utilizing both the geomatic tools at their disposal and the archaeological maps currently under construction.


The final goal is to present a unified computerized atlas of the Adriatic Region here by 2015.


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