Maps are the best tools for visualising big data, especially in the age of Google Maps and modern network studies. Numerous big projects focusing on Roman history are using already this surface to present their database also in form of maps, which help us to understand many specific details and local particularities of provinces or larger entities within the Roman Empire and beyond. There are fantastic maps focusing on global maps of the Graeco-Roman world, epigraphic material of the empire, the Roman cities and settlements, a map which compares ancient and medieval Europe, the terra sigillata production sites, the amphorae and other pottery production sites, Roman economy and their sites and the Roman roads and networks.
When it comes to Roman religion however, we are in a pretty bad situation. Although there are monumental projects focusing on mapping Roman sanctuaries and religious sites in Gallia, Italy or Germaniae, none of these projects has a digital map yet. Some projects are focusing on individual divinities or religious groups, such as the Isiac cults, Mithras or early Christian communities. These new projects tries to visualise the monumental work and heritage of M. J. Vermaseren and the EPRO series, where numerous maps were also published focusing on individual divinities or small group religions.
The Digital Atlas of Roman Sanctuaries in the Danubian Provinces (DAS) will be the first comprehensive digital and open access representation of public and semi-public (secondary) sacralised spaces founded and maintained during the Principate in the territory of the Danubian provinces. The atlas will be a result of the research grant focusing on Roman religious communication in the Danubian provinces and will be published online here in a Google Mymap surface in the following order and approximate dates:
- March 2020: Sanctuaries of Dacia
- June 2020: Sanctuaries of Raetia
- September 2020: Sanctuaries of Noricum
- December 2020: Sanctuaries of Pannoniae
- March 2021: Sanctuaries of Moesia Superior
- May 2021: Sanctuaries of Moesia Inferior
- September 2021: complete bibliography and references
- end of 2021: monograph on Roman religious communication in the Danubian provinces
- 2022: Catalogue of sanctuaries in printed version
The project intends also to publish the catalogue of sanctuaries in the Danubian provinces.
Technical details and legend
The digital atlas is based on a Google Mymap site. The searching engine of the Google Map allows endless possibilities of keywords, which will result the santuaries, divinities, personal or geographical names marked on the map too.
The map presents the limits of each province, a short historical description of each of the Danubian provinces. Each of the settlements, where sanctuaries were attested, have a vignette, a specific icon and a description based on the nature of the settlement (municipium/colonia / legionary fort, vicus militaris/auxiliary fort, bath-complex, mining settlement, cave). Each of these short descriptions mention the location, a short history of research and an overall analysis of the votive / religious sources of the settlement. In most of the cases, the votive inscriptions are listed from the EDH with a shortlink. There is also a DARE link, although since 2020 the new tile map of the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire is not functioning at the moment. In some cases, there will be links to various digital projects, such as the Lapidarium Musei Zilahensis-Pars Epigraphica, Biblioteca Digitala or the projects of the digitalclassicist.org. Each of the short settlement description has an essential bibliographic reference and in most of the cases photographs from open access sources. In most of the cases, there will be hyperlinks to digital databases, such as the Biblioteca Digitala.
The map contains 3 type of sacralised spaces: archaeologically attested (orange), epigraphically attested (purple) and presumed (blue). Each of the presented sanctuaries follows the same structure: location (in some cases with GPS data), dimensions, description, archaeological repertory and bibliography. In some cases, the archaeological repertory is represented in few photos.