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Title: Towards a Theoretical Model of the Epigraphic Landscape
Author(s): Williams, Kelsey Jackson
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Editor(s): Cousins, Eleri H
Citation: Williams KJ (2022) Towards a Theoretical Model of the Epigraphic Landscape. In: Cousins EH (ed.) Dynamic Epigraphy: New Approaches to Inscriptions. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Keywords: Epigraphy
Carved Stones
Processual Archaeology
Issue Date: 2022
Date Deposited: 24-Nov-2021
Abstract: First paragraph: Since the advent of printing, the publication of epigraphic texts and, accordingly, their study, has been conditioned by the technology of moveable type. Gutenberg's legacy made it easy to reproduce the text of an inscription, but expensive and time-consuming to reproduce its more purely visual and spatial aspects. Examples of this history of text-centric epigraphic publication can be seen from the earliest printed studies of epigraphy, discussed by William Stenhouse, through the monumental publications of Jan Gruter and his successors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the beginnings of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum under the direction of Theodor Mommsen in the nineteenth. It is only in comparatively recent history, first with the development of post-letterpress printing technologies and second with the advent of the digital age that the visual and spatial characteristics of an inscription are likely to be recorded with the same precision and fidelity as its textual characteristics. With that change has come an increasing awareness that scholars should consider not only the textual meaning of an inscription, but also its art historical contexts and placement in the built and natural landscapes. Nonetheless, epigraphy remains a highly textual field; while the technologies of reproduction have changed, those of interpretation are only just beginning to catch up.
Rights: Accepted for publication and appears in a revised form in a book entitled Dynamic Epigraphy: New Approaches to Inscriptions, edited by Eleri H Cousins, published by Oxbow Books. ISBN: 9781789257892
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