Posted on behalf of Annamaria De Santis, Irene Rossi, Daniele Marotta
DASI-Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions is an ERC project of the University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, directed by Prof. Alessandra Avanzini, aimed at digitizing the pre-Islamic inscriptions from Arabia.
The hybrid system, combining both the database and the XML approaches for archiving and displaying data, describes the inscribed artifacts taking into account their dual nature. Each item digitized in DASI is represented by a physical object linked to one or more epigraphs. Metadata of the “Epigraph” provide information on linguistic features, writing, chronology and type of text; in addition to the notes of apparatus, there are general and cultural notes. Texts are encoded in XML according to the EpiDoc standard and structural, grammatical, transcription phenomena and onomastics, as well as editorial interventions, are marked.
Information about the object is not embedded in the “Epigraph”, but has its own autonomy. The entity “Object” includes attributes regarding: type of support, materials and dimensions, provenance and archaeological context, and the detailed description of its decorative elements. Several contextual entities record translations, geographical information, bibliography and iconographic documentation. For instance “Site” supplies not only the information needed to contextualize artefacts, such as provenance or place of production, but also ancient and modern toponyms, geographical coordinates, country, region, ancient kingdoms, archaeological information about the sites, such as monuments, history of studies, archaeological missions and so on.
The archive that presently counts nearly 6500 inscriptions, allows to browse through filters on metadata. Moreover it is provided with sophisticated tools for studying languages of the ancient Arabia, such as the list of words and the textual search that allows to perform queries also on textual variants. Lexica of the south Arabian languages will be shortly available.