Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pleiades Conceptual Overview

Pleiades Conceptual Overview
Creators: Sean Gillies, Jeffrey Becker, Elizabeth Robinson, Adam Rabinowitz, Tom Elliott, Noah Kaye, Stuart Dunn, Sarah Bond, Ryan Horne Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by). 
Last modified Jul 07, 2016 05:58 PM 
An introduction to Pleiades and the types of information resources it contains.
Pleiades is a gazetteer of ancient places. Pleiades places are conceptual entities: the term applies to any locus of human attention, material or intellectual, in a real-world geographic context. A settlement mentioned in an ancient text is a place, whether or not it can now be located; an archaeological site is a place; a modern city located atop an ancient settlement is a place. Basically, any spatial feature that is connected to the pre-modern past and that a human being has noticed and discussed as such between the past and the present is a place.
Places in Pleiades can therefore represent:
  • areas of fairly intensive human activity like settlements and sanctuaries;
  • large-scale geological features known in antiquity like mountains, rivers, lakes;
  • political, social, or cultural constructs like provinces and mining districts; and
  • individual structures, when they have been referred to individually by ancient sources or modern scholars (e.g., the Parthenon, the Queen’s Megaron at Knossos, the Basilica Iulia, the House of the Faun).
Places are entirely abstract, conceptual entities. They are objects of thought, speech, or writing, not tangible, mappable points on the earth’s surface. They have no spatial or temporal attributes of their own. A place can exist in name only in an ancient source, without any material correlate; conversely, an archaeological site can exist as a place without an ancient name.

The spatial aspects of Pleiades places (i.e., latitude and longitude coordinates in space), as well as their ancient and modern names, are addressed through two other conceptual entities: locations and names. Temporal characteristics are also recorded at the name and location levels.

Locations in Pleiades connect places to coordinates in space. A location identifies a specific area of interest on the earth’s surface that is associated with a place during a particular date range. A place can contain multiple locations. Locations, on the other hand, are associated with one and only one place. Depending on the state of the evidence, the association between location and place may vary in certainty; some places, attested by name in ancient sources, may have no associated location at all because modern scholarship cannot pinpoint reliably the ancient site or area in question.
Names in Pleiades are also connected with places. A name reflects the identity of a place in human language, not its physical location in the landscape. Names have no spatial coordinates, but they are always annotated with the time period(s) of the textual source(s) in which they are attested. As with locations, a single place can have multiple names, but an individual name can be associated with one and only one place. This is true even if the same sequence of characters is also attested as a name for another place; Pleiades treats these “identical” names as separate entities.

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