Wrap up: PapyGreek Opening Colloquium in June 7-8, 2018 in Helsinki

An opening colloquium of the ERC starting Grant funded project (2018-2023) Digital Grammar of the Greek Documentary Papyri – or PapyGreek for short – was held on the 7th and 8th of June in Helsinki. Although the actual work of the project had been started by the time of the colloquium, the event acted as an official launch of the project. For two days around 20 scholars from various universities gathered together in the Metsätalo building of the University of Helsinki to discuss the current state, research questions and possible future developments of the digital research concerning Greek papyrus texts.

After an introductory lunch and everyone getting to know each other a bit, the project director of PapyGreek Marja Vierros (University of Helsinki) gave the first presentation of the day, introducing the general outlines and primary goals of the project. Erik Henriksson (University of Helsinki), Francesco Mambrini (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin), Zach Fletcher (Tufts University) and Helma Dik (University of Chicago) focused in their presentations on the various currently available digital tools relevant to the project including Sematia, Perseids, Arethusa and various online lexicons and their possible further developments. Sonja Dahlgren (University of Helsinki) brought up a phonological perspective in her presentation to the discussion. On the second day of the colloquium presentations of Giuseppe Celano (University of Leipzig), Alek Keersmaekers (KU Leuven) and Gabriel Bodard (Institute of Classical Studies, London) dwelled further on the digital methods in classics and corpus linguistics, some of which are presently being utilized in the project. Stephen Colvin (University College London) and Klaas Bentein (Ghent University) on the other hand took a look at certain interesting linguistic questions which still require human interpretation midst the advanced, potent and all the while more and more automatic annotation tools. There was active and excited discussion between the presentations and various interesting remarks and points were constantly brought up by various participants.

During coffee breaks, dinner and lunch all the participants were casually mingling with each other and one could sense a cordial atmosphere – an ideal environment for the birth of fruitful collaborations and productive network. What was even more exciting, was that during the final discussion one got the impression that we were upon something truly fascinating, inspiring and unique in the field of classical studies. The project is at the moment still in its early stages, yet it is clear that the project is heading towards new areas when it comes to papyrological and classical studies but also in broader terms as part of digital humanities.

Check the program