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Recap of 2023 and plans 2024

As the saying goes, “it’s never too late to start”. Our usual annual retrospective comes a little later this time, but we simply had too much to tell! 2023 has been an intense year at ATLAS, during which we have not only continued work on our WebSIG and participated in multiple colloquia and conferences, but also focused to a greater degree on our other goals: the companion and the touring exhibition.

Last year January started with a conference in Xanten on one of our case study cities: Emerita. The conference “Nuevas investigaciones sobre Emerita Augusta” brought together the experts on the city, including our own Sabine and Pieter to discuss the latest on the city. The results of this conference will be published as the catalogue belonging to the exposition planned in the summer later in 2024. Keep an eye out on the museum website for the official announcement of the expo.

As you see, our involvement in the study of our cities goes beyond the work on the database and WebSIG (by the way, if you haven’t already done so, we recommend you take a look at this post on how to use it). An example of our commitment to the work is Ada, in April she participated in a new excavation campaign at Baelo Claudia, carried out in the framework of the CircE project. In October, this same project took Laurent and Ada to another of our cities: Seville. Here they held the workshop “¡Qué desastre!”, which focused on the analysis of traumatic phenomena in antiquity, a subject on which Baelo Claudia had, as always, a lot to contribute.

Laurent and Ada at the workshop

This year also saw the last work-in-progress meeting of ATLAS: Les Villes dans l’Antiquité Tardive au sud de la péninsule Ibérique et en Afrique du Nord: entre recherche et valorisation patrimoniale. Last May our members had the joy of visiting Tunisia for this meeting. We had two days of presentations and discussions by the members of the research groups on the topics that are so close to our hearts. The first day of our meeting was hosted by the INP in Tunis. The second day we were invited by the AVMPPC to come to Uthina for our meeting. In addition to our discussions we had the chance to visit some sites. Clearly we visited Carthago and Uthina, where we were meeting, but the programme included an additional cultural day to visit Thuburbo Maius and Testour! 

Some pictures of our visits to Uthina and Testour in May.

As the project was in high gear racing towards the final publication of the companion, more on this later, the student assistants in Hamburg were more and more involved with the cartographic element of our project. They followed the QGIS course and over time learned a lot more by creating maps for the project. As always you can find some of the results on our Maps-to-go page

The year ended in December with two major outreach activities. First our directors participated in the large ATEG conference: “ATEG VIII Les villes de l’Antiquité tardive en Gaule et dans les régions mitoyennes”. This conference takes place once each two years and was a great opportunity for our directors to present the preliminary results of the ATLAS project. Later in December our post-doc Pieter went to Rio de Janeiro as part of a future exchange programme between the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and the Universität Hamburg. Pieter gave a lecture on the epigraphic studies within the ATLAS project. In addition, he taught the QGIS course to a group of engaged students. We hope to spread the love for spatial analyses and cartography.

Pieter in Rio de Janeiro

What are the plans for 2024? The largest part is the closing workshop in Madrid March 20/21. This final workshop for the ATLAS project will be the final meeting of the members within the frame of the ATLAS project. However, these are not farewells, but just see you laters. We are certain that many of our members will continue to collaborate, and while we will reap the fruits of the project, we are already preparing ATLAS 2.0, of course. 

Nonetheless, now is no time for goodbye, we are full throttle working on the project. The workshop must be prepared. As we have written before, the deadline for the companion has kept us quite busy the past few months. With the deadline made, the work for others starts. All manuscripts have to be checked and corrected (style guides are there to be ignored 😉 ) before it can be sent to the publishers at Casa de Velázquez. Moreover, at the moment we are also preparing the ATLAS exposition that will have its kick-off at the workshop in Madrid. Thereafter it will go around our research area and institutions. Keep an eye on our blog to see when and where you can visit the ATLAS expo near your home town!