EGENIS seminar: "The Spaces In Between: What geographic data can and cannot tell us about the past" Prof Leif Isaksen (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences seminar
Date26 October 2020
Time15:30 to 17:00
PlaceOnline event.

The appeal of geographic data to those studying the past seems self-apparent. Few sources of evidence provide such immediate and compelling means of conveying broader context and identifying correlatory relationships between ostensibly separate phenomena. But without disputing its importance as an essential component of historical inquiry, this seminar will seek to problematise the use of spatial data using two case studies.

One will reflect on the catalogue of places in Claudius Ptolemy’s Guide to Constructing a World Map  (c. 150 AD), and how its apparently objective association of independent localities with global coordinate pairs belies a far more complex - and constructed - underlying arrangement. The second will discuss the discovery of Alexandria-minted Roman coins in Exeter and elsewhere in the British Isles, and their interpretation as ‘modern losses’ (i.e. conveyed from Egypt and lost after Antiquity). It will seek to show how the logic of spatial arguments can lead to widely varying conclusions dependent on their scale and the different forms of evidence they employ.

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