04 October 2012

My New article

I've been getting more and more involved in digital humanities, so I'm happy to announce that my most recent publication is now out in an open-access journal:
John D Muccigrosso, “Re‐Interpreting the Robinson Skyphos,” Studia Humaniora Tartuensia 13, no. A.1 (2012): 1–15
That's the old-school citation for this new-school journal, and hardly befitting a 21st-century open-access publication, so here are a couple of better choices:
  1. The direct link to the journal webpage for the article
  2. My Zotero library reference
  3. The article itself as a pdf
The article is of course free to download (hence the OA bit), so knock yourself out. Please.

Here's the abstract:
The scene on the Robinson skyphos was wrongly identified for years as a depiction of clay‐working, either in a kiln or other preparation area. Recent scholarship has correctly identified it instead as one related to the grain harvest. This article presents a new examination of the scene, pointing out details the importance of which had not previously been noted. It also brings to bear comparanda from Egyptian art which put the identification of the scene beyond doubt.
The article began as part of an exploration of depictions of what were called potters and pottery workshops on ancient Greek pots, but which I thought were often not. It's inspired to a large extent by the work of David Gill and Michael Vickers on the elevation of ancient pottery-making to an "art" instead of a "craft" to reflect modern rather than ancient thinking. (And let's not get into the whole issue of how we distinguish between those two things!) The work actually started as an grad-school exploration of how much Greek pottery was exported, not only in terms of the number of physical pots, but also the economic value of those pots. It won't be surprising to learn that the course was taught by William Loomis, the guy who studied how much the ancient Greeks actually got paid (Wages, welfare costs, and inflation in classical Athens), and, upon reflection, the topic was probably a good indicator of my interest in what we now call digital humanities in the first place!

And for a little academic genealogy...David Moore Robinson, the classical art historian and collector after whom the pot in the article was named, was the teacher of George Hanfmann, who in turn taught John G. Pedley, with whom I studied at Michigan (though he was not my advisor) and who invited me to join the on-going excavations at Paestum, Italy at the end of the last century(!), which were conducted by Jim Higginbotham of Bowdoin College, with whom my previous article was co-authored. So far, so good. Fairly normal academic stuff, especially for a fairly small field like mine. But wait, there's more!

One of the standard works on the manufacturing techniques of ancient Greek pottery was written by Joseph V. Noble, who died in 2007, during the period in which I was working on this article. Turns out he had lived for years in the same town as me (Maplewood, NJ), just a few hundred meters from the train station where I daily stood for my commute, though unfortunately I never knew that until it was too late.

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