ISAW-GA 3024-001 | Fall 2017 | Introduction to Digital Humanities for the Ancient World

Introduction to Digital Humanities for the Ancient World

ISAW 2nd Floor Seminar Room
Monday 2:00-5:00pm
Patrick Burns, Sebastian Heath, Thomas Elliott, David Ratzan

Office Hours

Burns office hours: Tuesday 3:00-4:30pm ISAW 3-6
Heath office hours: Thursday 11:00am-12:00pm in the Classics Dept. downtown or by appointment
Ratzan office hours: By appointment (at ISAW) Elliott office hours: By appointment (via email)

Course Goals

Students will gain familiarity with current digital tools and methods for the study of the Ancient World. Students will also gain experience that will allow them to evaluate new tools as they continue to become available during the course of their professional lives.


30% participation in class, 10% weekly reading responses, 30% assignments, 30% final project.

Weekly Reading Responses

Each week students should either provide a 500 word response to one of the assigned readings or write three substantive questions that arose while doing the reading. The response or questions should be entered into that week’s shared Google Doc.

Final project

Students will define and implement a project that makes use of the techniques we discuss in-class. The project will be submitted in a form that approximates the effort of a 20-page research paper, including a 1500-word narrative that explains your goals, your results, and references related work. A bibliography is required and reference to the titles in it will show that you are familiar with related work and issues. Definition of the project will occur over the course of the term, with students making presentations on their progress as indicated in the syllabus. The last month of the course will be largely devoted to implementation. Projects that overlap with each student’s field of study are particularly welcome.

Note: The syllabus is subject to occasional change. This is especially the case in the latter half of the semester once your professors have become comfortable with the group’s overall skill level. Adequate notice will be given.


Week 1 (9/11): Introduction
Week 2 (9/18): Textual Markup
Week 3 (9/25): Text Processing with Python 1: Basics
Week 4 (10/2): Content Management Systems with Omeka
No Class (10/9)
Week 5 (10/16): Column-Oriented Data 1: Visualization
Week 6 (10/23): Column-Oriented Data 2: Relational Joins and SQL Queries
Week 7 (10/30): Mapping 1
Week 8 (11/6): Mapping 2
Week 9 (11/13): 3D Modeling
Week 10 (11/20): Teaching, Research, and Collaboration in the Digital Era
Week 11 (11/27): Publication and Digital Work | Final Project Proposals
Week 12 (12/4): Text Processing with Python 2: Counting and Classification | Final Project Updates
Week 13 (12/11): Final Project Presentations
Week 14 (12/12): Debates in Digital Ancient World Studies

Schedule with assignments, readings, etc. can be found here