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Project Coordinated By UMD Alum Wins $350,000 NEH Grant

July 01, 2020 Classics

Krateros Project, coordinated by Dr. Aaron Hershkowitz, wins $350,000 grant

Dr. Aaron Hershkowitz, who received his Classics B.A. from Maryland in 2009 and his Ph.D. from Rutgers in 2018, is the Project Coordinator of the Krateros Project at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey. The aim of the project is to digitize the IAS collection of 30,000 squeezes, paper pressings of ancient Greek and Roman inscriptions. Since the squeezes were made, some of the inscriptions have been lost or destroyed, making these paper records all the more valuable. In April of this year, the project “squeezed” its way into the heart of the National Endowment for the Humanities, receiving a $350,000 grant to support three further years of work. This will allow Dr. Hershkowitz and his colleagues not only to finish the two-dimensional scanning of the collection that they had begun, but also to create three-dimensional scans of the squeezes. The digitized versions will be made freely available to a worldwide audience of students and scholars. 

 

Dr. Hershkowitz writes: “Our project has been no exception to the impact of the novel coronavirus: the campus of the Institute for Advanced Studies has been closed since March, which has obviously severely restricted the scope of activities that we can carry out. Before the closure, we were working on a collaboration with the Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR) at the Catholic University of America to scan their squeezes of inscriptions found in the southern-most part of the Arabian Peninsula. The Krateros Project has an Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/thekraterosproject/), and one of our recent posts describes the ICOR collaboration in more detail. Since the closure, we have continued to work on creating metadata for our scans and on getting through the backlog of image editing that we had built up by (fortunately for us!) choosing to focus early project energy on scanning. We are hoping that New Jersey will continue to trend in the right direction, and that we will be able to get at least one project team member back into the Squeeze Library in the coming weeks.”

 

Dr. Hershkowitz has also recently joined with Dr. Rachel Starry of UC Riverside and Dr. Natalie Susmann of MIT to form the new planning committee for the "Ancient MakerSpaces" event at the joint annual meetings of the Society for Classical Studies and the Archaeological Institute of America.

 

Squeezes are made by beating wetted filter paper into the cracks of an inscription.  For more details about the process, see the article by Dr. Stephen V. Tracy on the Krateros website at https://www.ias.edu/ideas/2010/tracy-ias-squeeze. The illustration above shows a squeeze taken from the tombstone of a Greek woman named Malthake (ΜΑΛΘΑΚΗ), who is identified as the daughter of her father Magadis.

 

For more information about the Krateros Project, and about squeezes, see Dr. Hershkowitz’s video on YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zANS5YrHsvE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0JP9-7roEH1ujNDDuxTL83yHw8lwCgbuAzDNWHPsq4v-6QIsVSHx76NpM .