Thursday, April 23, 2020

Palestine Open Maps - Excellent new mapping resource

Split screen option: Tabgha on left; Capernaum visible on right
Just announced today (2020.04.23) on Twitter is the Palestine Open Maps project. (Do check the Twitter link for a number of videos demonstrating the site's features.)

From the site's description:
Palestine Open Maps is a platform that seeks to combine emerging technologies for mapping and immersive storytelling to:
Open-source and make searchable, for the first time, a uniquely detailed set of historic maps from the period of the British Mandate of Palestine;
Curate layered visual stories that bring to life absent and hidden geographies, in collaboration with data journalists, academic researchers, and civil society groups....

The idea for this platform was inspired by a large collection of 1940s survey maps from the British Mandate of Palestine recently digitized by the Israeli national library. These maps—all now in the public domain—cover the territory at scales of up to 1:20,000, offering a vivid snapshot of a human and natural geography almost unrecognizable on the ground today, with an unparalleled level of physical detail, including population centers, roads, topographic features and property boundaries.

Although the maps were already in the public domain, their usefulness was limited since they comprise hundreds of separate sheets with no easy means to search, navigate or otherwise comprehend. By combining these sheets into seamless layers that can be navigated online, and combining them with other available data sources, such as the 1945 Village Statistics, historic photography, oral histories and present day digital maps and data, this platform seeks to offer an invaluable resource for mapping the transformation in the human geography of historic Palestine over the past 70+ years.
Some things to note:
  • All the maps are public domain. Click on a map location, and you can choose any available maps for that location to download. They go back to the 1876 Palestine Exploration Fund one.
  • The sliding split view is handy to get locations.
  • The satellite imagery used is 2019, apparently from Mapbox. It also includes a street map overlay from 2018.
  • The search feature includes many biblical sites you might want to check, but it's not exhaustive by any means.
  • It's not intended primarily as a biblical resource, but the easy access to historical maps is very helpful.
  • The site is intended as a historical preservation of Arab locations and names before the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel. Another overlay on the site shows Arab locations that were depopulated during that time.
It's definitely worth checking and bookmarking.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Original Bibles: An online collection of old printed Bibles and more

The Original Bibles site intends to give "you Holy Bibles the way they were originally printed." And that they do! It looks like most (all?) the books are coming from Google Books and rendered as individual pages. It's rather clunky since you can't scroll or click to go to the next page but need to use a dropdown box to get to the next page.
OTOH, the value is that someone has collated the Bibles that are available. Search for Greek and choose to look at Erasmus' 1516 Greek NT. Or use the Categories dropdown and pick a language, type of resource, or century. How about the 1524 Second Rabbinic Bible?

Have fun browsing around!

HT: John Linebarger on FB

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts

In case you are needing a Unicode font for Aegean, Linear A, Cypro-Minoan, Cretan-Hieroglyphs, Aegyptus, EEMusic, Akkadian, Assyrian, Maya, and more, HERE is the place to go. "Free use of UFAS is strictly limited to personal use."

Friday, April 3, 2020

Virtual touring and museum visting while quarantined...

So many fascinating online resources... If you want to do some virtual touring and museum visiting, go to Sketchfab and enter a search term of choice. Try using some biblical cities as a starter. Lots of 3D models like the one of the Temple of Sardis shown above. Istanbul's Rezan Has Museum just added 3000 archaeological artifacts to the collection. Here are some suggestions:
Some of the models have attached annotations to learn more about a specific aspect.

Digital Maps of the Ancient World

Digital Maps of the Ancient World is a new to me website that is accumulating many fine resources. Here is its self-description:
The Digital Maps section is useful for those studying Ancient History and Archaeology, who would like to gain a better understanding of certain sites or where certain events took place. The Pompeii Map is also useful for those studying the Cambridge Latin Course.

The Mythology section is useful for those studying Greek and Latin who would like to understand the mythology behind the translations and those who have an interest in Ancient History.

For those studying Greek and Latin at school, there are dedicated languages sections with resources for grammar and vocabulary for the various UK examination boards, particularly for Common Entrance. The Greek Mythology and the Recommended Reading (Historical Fiction) and Media sections will help with understanding the cultures behind the languages.
From a biblical perspective, the most interesting sections are the Ancient Maps and the Digital Maps. For example, this one on provinces of the Roman Empire with clickable info popouts.
Or the one on ancient battles that includes four sites (Yodfat, Gamla, Beth Horon, Jerusalem) from the first Jewish war.
Lots more to check out, so have fun!

The Qumran Texts Composite Edition from Elisha Qimron - Open Access and Downloadable

The Qumran Texts Composite Edition shared by Elisha Qimron is now open access and downloadable as a free PDF HERE, all 984 pages of it! It does not include the biblical texts, but it looks like most everything else is there. It's all in Hebrew (except for references to other language works), and it's actually 3 volumes combined in a single PDF, so it's a bit hard to navigate. The best way is to download the PDF, and then open the bookmarks column.
I haven't kept up with my Qumran studies, so I don't know if there are issues of which I should be aware about this edition. E.g., how does it compare to the texts in the transcriptions by Abegg or Martinez. (Please indicate as much in the comments.) It's great to have these texts available for free, but for less adept Hebrew readers, it is more helpful to have the tagged texts from Abegg available in Accordance or Logos.
Thanks to Qimron for making this work available, and note that it should be cited as:
Elisha Qimron. (2020). The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition. Zenodo.

And not to neglect Greek and Latin readers, remember that I had previously noted that all the Loeb's in the public domain are available for free download too!

HT to Reed Carlson and IOQS - International Organization for Qumran Studies on Facebook