Robert Cargill to give AIA lecture tonight on “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel”

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Tel Azekah digital model

I’m giving a lecture tonight for the Iowa chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America entitled “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel.”

Info for this AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program is as follows:

Title: “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel”
Presenters: Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D., Asst. Prof of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Iowa
Cale Staley, MA Student, Department of Religious Studies, University of Iowa
Location: Room 116 of the Art Building West, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Date: Feb 24, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM

Abstract: This presentation examines the University of Iowa’s 3D, virtual reconstruction of Tel Azekah, located in the Elah Valley just west of Jerusalem after its initial two seasons of excavation. The presentation offers a new methodology for the systematic digital cataloging, visualization, and reconstruction of archaeological excavations as they progress.

About the Presenter: Robert Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, where he has taught since 2011. He came to Iowa from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. While at UCLA, he also served as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities. He is part of the Public Humanities in a Digital World cluster of faculty.

Sponsored by: The AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program, with the support of the Office of the State Archaeologist, the University of Iowa Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Religion, Art and Art History, and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

Audience Type: General public

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Iowa City Press-Citizen reports on the making of “Bible Secrets Revealed” for History

University of Iowa assistant professor Robert Cargill is pictured in his office this week. Cargill, an archaeologist and biblical scholar, is a consulting producer and appears on a six-part History Channel series that debuts next week. / Josh O'Leary / Iowa City Press-Citizen

University of Iowa assistant professor Robert Cargill is pictured in his office this week. Cargill, an archaeologist and biblical scholar, is a consulting producer and appears on a six-part History Channel series that debuts next week. / Josh O’Leary / Iowa City Press-Citizen

The Iowa City Press-Citizen has a front page story today on my role in the History channel’s newest six-part documentary series, “Bible Secrets Revealed,” which begins airing Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10/9c.

Josh O’Leary, a reporter for the Press-Citizen, authored a story which touched on many rather personal aspects of my life, including my childhood, my time in Los Angeles, and my work in television and archaeology. Many thanks to him for the interview and article.

The story also includes a video clip where I (and my Movember beard, which raises awareness for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues) share a few comments about the making of the documentary series.

For more about the documentary, read here and here and here and here and here.

And don’t miss episode one of “Bible Secrets Revealed: Lost in Translation,” which begins airing Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10/9c.

And tweet your comments live with the hashtag #BibleSecretsRevealed.

Digital Humanities Lecture at University of Maryland entitled “Toward an Archaeological Standard for Digital Imagery”

University of MarylandThe University of Maryland’s Department of Art History and Archaeology, in conjunction with the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture, has invited me to speak on the topic of digital imagery. I’ll be giving a lecture entitled, “Toward an Archaeological Standard for Digital Imagery“.

Title: “Toward an Archaeological Standard for Digital Imagery
Place:
Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture (4213A – Art-Sociology Building)
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Time: 16:00 to 17:30
Abstract:

Photoshopped image of engraving on Jonah ossuary, as reproduced by Dr. Matt Tabor and discussed by Dr. Robert Cargill for its unethical visual manipulation “With the increased use and power of digital imagery tools comes the increasingly frequent manipulation of these images for purposes ranging from humor to advertisement.  Unfortunately, these purposes also include the manufacture of evidence to support revisionist theories of history and religion.

And while fields such as journalism have begun setting standards for acceptable practices concerning the processing of digital imagery, many scholarly fields within the humanities have not yet effectively addressed digital media processing and manipulation.

A rise in frequency of pseudo-archaeological claims made by amateurs employing manipulated digital imagery to support their sensational claims necessitates the immediate establishment of a set of standards and best practices for the use of processed images in academic settings. This talk highlights some recent examples of digital manipulation and offers a set of standards for future use of digital media within the academy that preserves the integrity of the imagery and enhances the credibility of those employing digital media.”

About the Lecturer: Robert Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at The University of Iowa, where he has taught since 2011. He came to Iowa from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. While at UCLA, he also served as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities. At Iowa, he is part of the Public Humanities in a Digital World cluster of faculty. He also authors an active blog XKV8R, that covers wide-ranging subjects, chief among them ancient archaeology, and digital manipulation and the hazards therein.

Sponsorship: This talk is made possible through support from The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, the Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Department of Classics.

Maryland’s full ad is here.

Robert Cargill lectures on Tel Azekah, Digital Archaeological Modeling, and the Digital Humanities at Iowa

I recently gave “Studio Talk” about Tel Azekah and Digital Archaeological Modeling entitled “Digi-Tel Azekah: Digitally Modeling Archaeological Remains on the Judean-Philistine Borderline” at the University of Iowa Digital Studio for Public Arts & Humanities (DSPAH). I presented with my Dept. of Religious Studies graduate student, Cale Staley.

If you have ever asked the following questions:

What is Digital Humanities?
What is Digital Humanities at the University of Iowa?
What is Digital Archaeological Modeling?
Why is the Digital Humanities important?
How do the Digital Humanities help my research?
How do the Digital Humanities help my instruction?

and most importantly,
why should I join Iowa’s archaeological dig in Israel next summer?
(besides losing weight, getting fit, getting a great tan, traveling the Holy Land, and earning 6 units doing undergraduate research)

…then watch this video and all your questions will be answered.

With thanks to Oded Lipschits, Yuval Gadot, and Manfred Oeming for making The Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition possible.

(and of course that’s the picture that YouTube chooses to use as the cover image.)

Great digital modeling work being done on Karnak at UCLA by Dr. Elaine Sullivan

The UCLA Visualization Portal displays a 3D virtual reconstruction of Karnak.

The UCLA Visualization Portal displays a 3D virtual reconstruction of Karnak.

Congratulations to Dr. Elaine Sullivan at UCLA, who was recently featured in the Harvard Gazette regarding her research on a 3D virtual reconstruction of “The Temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak: 2000 Years of Rituals and Renovations in 3-D.”

The Karnak model depicts the temple from its earliest hypothesized form in the Middle Kingdom, about 1950 B.C., through the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. It allows the viewer to trace the changes of the temple over time, considering how each new stage of construction was a response to the existing landscape, Sullivan said.

And Harvard’s Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology, Dr. Peter Der Manuelian, understands the power of virtual modeling ancient archaeological sites:

The 3-D models are “terrific tools for teaching and also terrific research tools, because you begin to ask questions that were not possible before.”

Kudos to Dr. Sullivan on her years of work on Digital Karnak, which can be viewed in detail at UCLA’s Digital Karnak website.

New Video from NonStampCollector: Biblical Slavery (It’s TOTALLY Different)

NonStampCollector (@nonstampNSC; YouTube; blog) has just released his latest provocative video. This time, he addresses the issue of biblical slavery.

Definitely watch this video! It is a GREAT encapsulation of the very weak arguments many people make in defense of slavery in the Bible. The “it’s totally different” refrain is particularly priceless (and quite accurate).

It’s also another excellent contribution to his larger argument that the ethics and morality dictated in the Bible cannot and should not be used to regulate a modern society simply because they are “biblical”. Rather, we should recognize that we have evolved and matured as a society over the past 2000-3000 years, and that many of the so-called “ethical” commands in the Bible are reprehensible and worthy of disregard.

Slavery was God-ordained and God-regulated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and the practice was retained and re-endorsed in the New Testament (e.g., Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 2:18; Eph. 6:5). Claiming that it was “totally different” from slavery in the US South is a weak, easily debunked, and rather disturbing argument made in the defense of God’s ethical character.

Watch the video. I invite your comments.

(Also, for those of you wanting to read the script (or use it in a class), you can find the script and references here.)

UIowa Religious Studies PhD Student Cory Taylor to Lecture on Digital Modeling for Google Earth with Trimble SketchUp

Cory Taylor, University of Iowa Ph.D. student in Religious Studies will offer a free lecture and host a hands-on workshop on digital modeling for Google Earth with Trimble SketchUp on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM in the UIowa Main Library, Room 1015A.

Cory Taylor, University of Iowa Ph.D. student in Religious Studies, will offer a free lecture and host a hands-on workshop on digital modeling for Google Earth with Trimble SketchUp.

Cory Taylor, a University of Iowa Ph.D. student in Religious Studies, will offer a free lecture and host a hands-on workshop on digital modeling for Google Earth with Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM in the University of Iowa Main Library, Room 1015A.

If you are interested in learning 3D digital reconstruction of ancient archaeological remains (or you want to model and visualize your new backyard deck before you start building), then please attend this FREE lecture, sponsored by the University of Iowa Digital Studio for the Public Humanities‘ “PDH4L” (Public Digital Humanities for Lunch) series.

(Also, check out Cory’s biblical studies blog, Ex Libris, here.)

For more details about the lecture, click here.

U of Iowa DSPH to Build “AIDS Quilt Touch” Mobile Web App as Part of 25th Anniversary of AIDS Quilt

AIDS Quilt Touch Mobile AppThe University of Iowa DSPH (Digital Studio for the Public Humanities) will be playing a role in honoring the 25th anniversary of the creation of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

As mentioned in a recent HASTAC article:

“We are also collaborating with the Digital Studio for the Public Humanities, at the University of Iowa, under the direction of artist Jon Winet (DSPH, Intermedia, PHDW, Art and Art History), to build a MOBILE WEB APP called AIDS Quilt Touch.”

I am very proud to be part of a University that is on the cutting edge of Digital Humanities research, and one that is using its resources to promote important social causes like pressing toward a cure for AIDS and remembering those who have been claimed by this horrible disease.

For more on the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project, see their official website and The NAMES Project Foundation website. The AIDS Memorial Quilt Project was established “to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease.” “The Quilt is now an enormous 1.3 million square feet (50 miles) and 54 tons, making it no longer possible to display in a single location all at once.”

With Each New “Jonah Ossuary” Photo, Multiple New Problems

With each new photo released by the Jesus Discovery/Restoration Tomb Mystery team, we are presented with multiple new problems.

I’ve put most of the text of my argument into the graphic on this one, but click on the image for a larger version. I’ve listed the four main discrepancies below.

Comparing pictures of the bottom of the inscribed image on Ossuary 6 from the so-called "Patio Tomb" in Talpiot, Jerusalem.

Comparing pictures of the bottom of the inscribed image on Ossuary 6 from the so-called "Patio Tomb" in Talpiot, Jerusalem.

Comparing the original image of the bottom of the inscribed image on Ossuary 6 published on the thejesusdiscovery.org website, with the a newly released image captioned “Untouched Photo from HiDef Camera” on James Tabor’s blog, with Dr. Tabor’s drawing (from his blog) of his desired interpretation of the lines comprising the image, we are presented with a number of new discrepancies:

1. Supposed “Yod”
The lines appear about the same in Original and HiDef images, but for some strange reason, Dr. Tabor’s drawing shows a ‘looped’ area, while arbitrarily ignoring half of the remainder of the line.

2. Supposed “Waw”
The line in the Original appears to fade toward the right. However, the HiDef image now appears to extend all the way to the right border! But, Dr. Tabor’s drawing stops well short of right border. So which is it?

3. Supposed “Nun”
The Original image appears to be made with two strokes, with the top stroke extending down past the bottom stroke. However, the HiDef image shows the strokes connecting, the desired interpretation Dr. Tabor records in his drawing.

4. Several lines must be deliberately ignored to even make supposed “inscription” possible.

It’s becoming a case of one step forward, two steps back. And with each new image released by the Jesus Discovery/Resurrection Tomb Mystery team, the data gets more confusing, and the arguments change and change again. First no inscription, then suddenly an inscription. First stick man arms and legs, then suddenly they are letters. First the arms and legs are here, then they are here. First the letters are here, then they extend to here. First these lines aren’t connected, then suddenly they are connected. Which is it?

Once again I must reiterate the importance of the integrity and full transparency of digital imagery used in archaeology. Why weren’t these images released all at once at the outset? Why are they trickling out to the public one at a time?

YouTube Video: Digitally Manipulated “Fish in the Margins” Imagery on the so-called “Jonah Ossuary”

I have uploaded my latest YouTube video entitled “Digitally Manipulated “Fish in the Margins” Imagery on the so-called “Jonah Ossuary.” The video walks viewers through an illustrated version of an earlier blog post I wrote entitled, “Sins of Commission and Omission: Digitally Generated Marginal ‘Fishes’ and Overlooked Handles on the So-called ‘Jonah Ossuary’“.

The video points out 2 basic points:

  1. Digitally inked images were released to the public without acknowledging that the videos had, in fact, been inked (with ink colored to look like a naturally engraved area). (After I wrote my blog post, they later designated the image as “marked” and uploaded the “uninked” image for comparison).
  2. The digital ink does not correspond to the engraved areas, giving the illusion of a fish where none is present.
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