A presentation of the website of Ostia Antica, harbour city of ancient Rome

A presentation of the website of Ostia Antica, harbour city of ancient Rome


The Ostia website started in 1996,
so it’s quite an old website, and it’s been growing ever since. A group of people has been working
on it for all those years. Me, Jan Theo Bakker, I call myself
ostiarius, which is the gatekeeper of the website. But other people have contributed
as well, significantly. I could mention Eric Taylor, from the UK, who has written many, many pages
about the graffiti in Ostia, and Gerard Huissen, from the Netherlands, who has written a very, very
large section about the famous Isola Sacra necropolis, which is
situated between Ostia and Portus. The main aim of the website is
to make it possible for people to get acquainted with Ostia very quickly in a very thorough way. So scholars and students
would not need to read many books and hundreds of articles to become acquainted with Ostia. For that
purpose we have developed the Topographical Dictionary, which is a detailed description of
each building in Ostia. It’s in English, it’s accompanied by reconstruction drawings, it’s accompanied by colour photographs, and
whenever new research has been conducted the pages can be updated. So that’s a big advantage compared to a book,
which obviously has to be reprinted and will not contain many colour photographs. We’re working for interested lay-people, we’re
working for students, we’re working for scholars, and certainly we are focusing
on archaeological research, which means that we will report
on any archaeological discoveries. We will explain about new discoveries that have been
made. We have an extensive bibliography of more than 2500 titles. So that means that it’s very useful too, also for teaching. Students can get going immediately at universities. It will not be
necessary to compile a bibliography. It’s out there, and it’s waiting for you. We would like to focus in the future very
much on digitisation, further digitisation of Ostia. We’ve already done that with
photographs made available on the web by the Istituto Centrale per il
Catalogo e la Documentazione, by adding much metadata, precise information about where photographs were taken and
what precisely can be seen. But the ruins are decaying day-by-day. So
it’s extremely important I believe right now, to make high resolution digital
photographs of the ruins as we see them. And I think that in 200 years time, people
will be very happy that we did that. And various other initiatives can be
taken in the field of digitisation. So that is something that we are
really looking forward to doing. If you’re interested in following
developments on the Ostia website, if you’re interested in discussing Ostia with many
other people, then just join our mailing list, there are 200 people right now on it. If you want to contribute actively to
the Ostia website, you are welcome. And you don’t have to be a professional
archaeologist or historian for that. You may be a photographer, you may be an engineer. Many people can make significant contributions. Just drop us an email, and we look
forward to cooperation with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *