Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brief Anecdote about Discoverability, Sigma Tables, and the Athenian Agora

In the middle of today's meeting of the ISAW Roman Pottery Reading Group, the issue of "sigma tables" came up. These semi-circular marble tables are invoked by both of today's authors so it was natural to pause on the topic. At which I point I mentioned, "there's one in the Agora and I bet it's online." Quick Google search on "marble sigma table agora" and we were a click away from the Agora's database.

That's object A 3869.

My only point is that because the object was easy to find via the public Internet, we were able to include it in our conversation. It was very useful to compare a specimen to Hudson's and Vroom's analysis and to the additional visual evidence they each gather.

As a reminder, here's what we read:
  • Nicholas Hudson. 2010. "Changing Places: The Archaeology of the Roman Convivium." AJA 114.4: 663-695.
  • Joanita Vroom. 2008. ‘The archaeology of late antique dining habits in the eastern Mediterranean: A preliminary study of the evidence’, in: L. Lavan, E. Swift and T. Putzeys (eds.), Objects in Context, Objects in Use. Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5), Leiden and Boston: 313-361.

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