Fellow in the Context of the DRS Fellowship Program Postdoc International (POINT) at the Dahlem Humanities Center
May 2014 – May 2016
Locations, Relations and Interactions: Mapping and Interpreting the Ancient Landscape of Nubia through the Unpublished Archive of William John Bankes (1815-1822)
Daniele Salvoldi (1982) holds a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Pisa (2011) with a thesis about traveller and early epigraphist Alessandro Ricci (1794-1834). He got his MA in Languages and Cultures of the Ancient Near East (Egyptology) from the same University (2007) and his BA in History and Archaeology of the Ancient World (Egyptology) from University of Milan (2004). In 2011 he catalogued the large drawings collection of William J. Bankes in Dorchester, UK, as part of a grant awarded by the Accademia dei Lincei, Rome. His field of specialization is History of Egyptology and Egyptological Archives.
Abstract of the current research project:
William J. Bankes (1786-1855) travelled in Egypt in the years 1815-1819 and then hired a number of artists to record almost all then-known archaeological sites in Egypt and Nubia until 1822. Artists in his service produced an impressive amount of diaries, accounts, letters, maps, drawings, plans and landscape watercolours that are still unpublished. In the last two hundred years many geo-human factors caused radical changes in these areas. In a landscape almost untouched for centuries, the signs of the interactions between the ancient Nubian human communities and the natural environment were much clearer in Bankes’ times than now.
The cross-disciplinary research project aims to draft a reconstruction of ancient Nubia through the study of the Bankes Archive. For this purpose, a historical geographic information system (HGIS) will be used to structure and present on a digital, multi-layered map information extracted from the Bankes’ documents, such as locations, relations, systems and interactions of the ancient human communities. GIS is an excellent instrument to manage through digital maps what are conventionally named “geographical data” (positions, connections, interactions, paths) and “non-geographical data” (dates, frequency, events, goods traded, etc.). Data interpretation will rely comprehensively on ancient written sources and modern archaeological reports. The outcome of the research project will be a commentary and interpretation of the maps themselves and possibly an Internet open HGIS.