The Urban Legacy of Ancient Rome

The ancient world, online

An archaeologist by training, Ernest Nash began taking pictures of Roman buildings and monuments the moment he arrived in Rome in 1936. He set out to visually record remains in Rome and in other archeological sites, including Pompeii, Ostia, and Herculaneum; in doing so, he created a photographic corpus which is still widely regarded as an important visual resource for the study of ancient monuments.

As a data science intern at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, I digitized and organized the collection of metadata from Ernest Nash’s Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Rome, which would be later developed into a digital exhibit surveying Nash’s topographical study of the ancient world. Moreover, I used ArcGIS, ABBYY FineReader, Javascript, and other relevant tools to digitize, geo-reference, and clean Nash’s archival photographs and related descriptions.

Using Stanford Libraries’ Spotlight interface, I developed a majority of the website’s structure and organization, and contributed an interactive essay curating Nash’s work to provide a greater sense of understanding to viewers of the digital exhibit. This work was later compiled into a photobook showcasing work from Nash’s collection.

This project is a collaboration between Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, the University of Oregon, Dartmouth, and Stanford University Libraries. This research is funded by a 2018 grant from the Kress Foundation, as well as Stanford VPUE and Dartmouth’s Leslie Humanities Center.