Melissa Huber

AAR Summer Program in Roman Epigraphy

Melissa giving a presentation on a Julio-Claudian statue base in the Museo Nazionale Romano: Terme di Diocleziano
Melissa giving a presentation on a Julio-Claudian statue base in the Museo Nazionale Romano: Terme di Diocleziano

Rome, Italy: Summer, 2016

Thanks in large part to a grant from Teasley Family Antiquites Fund, I was able to travel to Rome this past July to gather inscriptional evidence for my dissertation and participate in the Summer Program in Epigraphy at the American Academy in Rome, taught by Professor John Bodel (Brown University).   The Summer Program in Epigraphy was an intensive, but incredibly rewarding ten days spent learning from top scholars in the field and from the other participants in the program, graduate students and professors from schools all over the US and even one student from the University of Belgrade in Serbia.  We spent the first couple of days in the classroom, learning the fundamentals of reading and interpreting inscriptions from Prof. Bodel and the basics of EpiDoc encoding from Dr. Scott DiGuilio (Mississippi State University).   EpiDoc conventions have been developed through international collaboration to create standardized editions of ancient documents.  We were able to put this knowledge to use by creating EpiDoc editions of inscriptions from the cortile at the American Academy in Rome.  The oppressive heat did not stop us from spending the rest of our time studying inscriptions on-site and in museums throughout Rome and Ostia.  I am so thankful for all that I learned during the Summer Program in Epigraphy.

Because my research centers on the city of Rome, I immediately applied the documentation and editing skills gained from the course to record and edit the body of inscriptional evidence relevant to my dissertation.  My focus on infrastructure improvements during the reign of Claudius places emphasis on epigraphic evidence because infrastructure improvements did not leave as substantial an archaeological footprint as new imperial fora or entertainment venues did.  I spent a lot of time with my camera, tape measures, and notebook at the Museo Nazionale Romano:  Terme di Diocleziano studying boundary stones from the Claudian period.  I have already incorporated several of these inscriptions into my dissertation.  I would not have been able to have such a productive summer without the help of the Teasely Family Antiquities Fund.