The Lawrenceville School Collaboration

In Spring 2019, Aaron Hershkowitz, Krateros Project Manager, had a fortuitous meeting with Scott Barnard, Latin Master at the nearby Lawrenceville School. Hershkowitz and Barnard had both recently received their Classics PhDs from Rutgers, and the meeting was an opportunity to catch up and share notes about their respective new ventures.

Dr. Barnard (left) and Dr. Hershkowitz during a visit by Dr. Barnard’s Ancient Greek class to the Meritt Library on April 9, 2019

The Lawrenceville School offers an Introductory Ancient Greek course every two years, and it just so happened that the course was running that year. Dr. Hershkowitz invited Dr. Barnard and his class to come to the Meritt Library and interact directly with the squeeze collection, and the two crafted a plan for incorporating epigraphy into the Introductory Greek course.

On April 9, 2019, the five members of Dr. Barnard’s class came to the Institute. Angelos Chaniotis, director of the Krateros Project and Professor of Ancient History and Classics at IAS, gave the students an overview of ancient Mediterranean inscriptions and their study. He also demonstrated the process of squeeze-making, allowing Dr. Barnard and the students to get hands-on experience!

Professor Angelos Chaniotis shows Lawrenceville School students the scanned image of an inscription and describes its importance for our understanding of Greek history
Professor Angelos Chaniotis helps Lawrenceville School student Stephanie Yoon work on making a squeeze as Emilia Onuonga, Zoe Thierfelder, and Jax Floyd look on

After Dr. Hershkowitz told the class about the history of the IAS squeeze collection and showed them the Krateros equipment and workflow for digitizing it, the students were given two squeezes of the same inscription and sat down to work on deciphering letters and words. They took to the activity like naturals, and exceeded all expectations in how much progress they made!

Students use cellphone flashlights to provide raking light to help read a squeeze

As the students prepared to depart for the evening, each was assigned a squeeze of their own that they would work on over the coming weeks. They received the digitized images of the squeezes, as well as 3D reconstructions made using the now archived Digital Epigraphy Toolbox created by Angelos Barmpoutis at the University of Florida. The squeezes were all of inscriptions that had not yet been translated into English, and the students’ task was to create their own translations.

With the help of Dr. Barnard, Dr. Hershkowitz, and Professor Chaniotis, the students crafted professional translations of their squeezes. Those translations were initially included in the entries for the respective squeezes on the Krateros section of Albert, the IAS repository. Going forward they will be published here on Notes from Krateros, under the “Translations” category.

Dr. Hershkowitz and Dr. Barnard presented a conference paper on the collaboration at the 2019 meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States. The handout for that presentation can be viewed here. As part of the successful application for an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant, Dr. Hershkowitz created a full, 3-lesson plan for incorporating digital epigraphy into introductory ancient Greek instruction; that plan was made on the model of NEH’s EDSITEment program, and is available here.

In 2020/2021 the Lawrenceville Introductory Greek class ran again, and although the COVID19 pandemic prevented the students from visiting the Meritt Library in person, Dr. Barnard utilized squeezes and epigraphy from the beginning to the end of the course. Dr. Hershkowitz visited via Zoom on several occasions to discuss the subjects with the students, and each student again crafted a translation of an inscription with no extant English translation. Those translations will also be published here on Notes from Krateros.

During the summer of 2021, two Lawrenceville School students, Victor Park and Sophia Sachar, participated in a paid internship with the Krateros Project. Park had taken the Greek course the previous year, and Sachar had several years of experience with Latin. Both students learned, and carried out, every aspect of Krateros’ digitization process, from cataloguing and scanning to gathering metadata from publications in Latin.

From left to right: Victor Park, Aaron Hershkowitz, Sophia Sachar, and Maria O’Leary

All of us at the Krateros Project have deeply enjoyed this collaboration with the Lawrenceville School and its fantastic students. We look forward to continuing the relationship in the coming years, and to creating new relationships with other locals schools and universities!

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