Beginning with the unification and exploitation of all the texts from the island (7th cent. BCE – 7th cent. CE) in a single digital corpus, Crossreads will combine findings from the corpus itself with the analysis resulting from three major sub-projects. These will explore the historical linguistics of the texts, the social, economic and practical materiality of the stone texts, and the physical forms of the writing systems employed – and interactions between all these aspects. Building upon the existing I.Sicily corpus of stone inscriptions, Crossreads will bring all these inscribed objects together for the first time in a comprehensive, open-source, digital corpus using international standards such as EpiDoc to encode text, images and contextual data.
The project pioneers the use in ancient epigraphic studies of new digital tools in palaeography and linguistic annotation, and will offer the first petrographic analysis of the use of stone on the island. No such analysis has been attempted on this scale, nor across this range of material—it promises to yield unparalleled insights into the cultural interactions at the heart of the Mediterranean, between Greek East, Latin West, North Africa, indigenous and early Christian voices, and many more.
Crossreads is a collaborative project, directed by Professor Jonathan Prag. The project team itself is made up of several post-doctoral researchers (up to 3 at any one time) specialising in different aspects of epigraphy, linguistics and petrography, as well as colleagues at the University of Catania, specialising in petrographic studies, and at King’s College London, working on the development of software for palaeographic studies. However, the collaboration extends well beyond the project team itself. It would be impossible to study the vast range of material included in this project without the support of many other scholars more specialised than ourselves in particular areas, and it would be impossible to access or work upon the material itself without the extensive support of many friends, colleagues and students in Sicily and elsewhere. A few examples are illustrated in the I.Sicily blog post, ‘It’s all about collaboration’. The multi-partner collaboration we supported at the Museo Civico di Catania is presented and discussed in a conversation available as a YouTube video, and documented in an open-access article (Italian) available at: https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2532-8816/7298