The Ancient Graffiti Project
- Rebecca Benefiel, Project Director
- Sara Sprenkle, Technical Director
- Holly Sypniewski, Assistant Director
Aims and scope
The project website defines graffiti as "handwritten inscriptions that have been incised or scratched into wall-plaster".
The project presents newly curated digital editions and contextual data for ancient graffiti from the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. It aims to provide scholars with a flexible digital tool to search these handwritten inscriptions in their spatial context. Thus, the project spans epigraphy and archaeology.
Both textual and figural graffiti (hand-sketched drawings) are available.
More than 1600 ancient graffiti are now searchable. These include all 300+ ancient graffiti from Herculaneum and more than 900 inscriptions from Pompeii (from the Lupanar, Insula I.8, the theater district, the Campus/Palestra beside the amphitheater, and other locations).
The recently discovered ancient graffiti from ancient Smyrna are also now available at AGP.
The project website provides a sophisticated search engine that allows users to conduct a range of queries, including searches based on the location of the graffiti ("Search by Map"), by the type of property (e.g. public building, house, workshop), category of drawing (e.g. animals, boats, geometric designs), writing style, content of the inscription, and more.
The epigraphical database and the search platform are interoperable with the EAGLE epigraphic database, the EDR (Epigraphic Database Roma) and the EAGLE Europeana Network.
- R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, “Greek Graffiti in Herculaneum,” American Journal of Archaeology vol. 122.2 (2018), 209-244.
- R. Benefiel, S. Sprenkle, H. Sypniewski, J. White, "The Ancient Graffiti Project: Geo-Spatial Visualization and Search Tools for Ancient Handwritten Inscriptions," in: DATeCH 2017 Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Digital Access to Textual Cultural Heritage, New York: ACM (2017), 163-168.
- The Journal of FASTI Online, 2016, report on fieldwork in Herculaneum <http://www.fastionline.org/docs/FOLDER-it-2016-361.pdf>
- R. Benefiel, H. Sypniewski, "Images and Text on the Walls of Herculaneum: Designing the Ancient Graffiti Project," in: Off the Beaten Track. Epigraphy at the Borders, edited by A. E. Felle and A. Rocco, Archeopress (2016), 29-48.
- R. Benefiel, S. Sprenkle, The Herculaneum Graffiti Project, ISAW Papers 7.4 (Current Practice in Linked Open Data for the Ancient World), (2014).
- R. Benefiel, S. Sprenkle, P. Jang, The Herculaneum Graffiti Project, a poster presented at the EAGLE International Conference Paris, September 2014.