Research at ISAW
ISAW was founded to support research in the ancient world. This page describes some of the research projects in which our faculty, staff, students, and scholars are engaged. The results of this research are communicated in a variety of ways—in print, online, and in person—to a range of audiences including both scholars and the general public. As outlined in the faculty statement on assessment of research (PDF), we aim for quality and long-term accessibility in all our research outputs, regardless of medium, while embracing collaboration and both traditional and new forms of review and assessment.
The Antikythera Mechanism was a bronze gearwork device displaying chronological cycles and motions and phenomena of the heavenly bodies, made somewhere in the Hellenistic world in the second or early first century B.C. ISAW's Alexander Jones is involved in a collaborative research project addressing unanswered questions about this fascinating object.
Territorial barrier-walls are a widespread phenomenon in many micro-regions of Western Central Asia where they take the shape of large-scale oasis walls or linear barriers, similar to "long walls" known from other parts of the Old World. In cooperation with Institute of Archaeology at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan in Samarkand, ISAW's Sören Stark is organizing an archaeological field project to map and investigate these features.
Continuing work begun while a Research Scientist at the American Numismatic Society, Sebastian Heath is working with colleagues there and at other institutions to provide a digital infrastructure for the discipline of numismatics. One result of this work is the site http://nomisma.org/, which publishes stable URIs (web addresses) for concepts in numismatics, frequently alongside relevant data.
NYU's excavations at the ancient city of Amheida (known as Trimithis in the Roman period) are a unique combination of archaeological fieldwork and educational program. Although primarily a modern, multidisciplinary excavation, the project also offers undergraduate students the opportunity for a study-abroad semester in Egypt that combines fieldwork with classroom study and visits to archaeological sites and museums. The Amheida excavations are directed by Roger Bagnall.
Charles Jones is a member of the Editorial Board of the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project. The Project is using electronic equipment and media alongside the conventional tool-kits of philology and scholarship to record and distribute the information associated with tens of thousands of tablets and fragments discovered in 1933 at Persepolis in Iran.
Reception of Chinese Antiquity
Interested in the reception of antiquity, Lillian Tseng is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Inspecting Steles: Cultural Agents and Visual Production in 18th-century China. It investigates why stone monuments erected in the past emerged as a major scholarly concern and how the scholarly pursuit of ancient monuments affected the production of contemporary visual works that range from painting, calligraphy to illustrated catalogues. It articulates different dynamics in agents and mediums. It also addresses issues surrounding historical memory and social communication.
Research in Digital Antiquity
ISAW's online resources embrace a number of research components bridging the study of the human past and the development of new media and new methods. Overseen by Tom Elliott, these resources are a collaborative effort of ISAW's Digital Projects Team and a number of extramural colleagues.
Since 1996, Sebastian Heath has been working on the publication of Roman pottery from the Lower City at Ilion in Turkey, a site better known as Troy and famous as the setting for Homer's Iliad. Along with his colleagues, C. Brian Rose of the University of Pennsylvania and Billur Tekkök of the Baskent University, Sebastian has been engaged in close study of the architecture and stratigraphy of a series of trenches that provide evidence for essentially continuous occupation from the mid-first century to the early sixth centuries AD.