Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Final Presentations - Origins of Venice

The third presentation this year (and the second today) was by the "Origins" team, which tackled three broad aspects that together would contribute tremendously to our understanding of the origins of Venice and its People:
  1. The Archeology of Venice and its lagoons
  2. The information content of Ancient Manuscripts in the Venice Archive
  3. The genealogical provenance of the Ancient Veneti
I blogged on these before, but it was good to see the final product, which is being assembled into a single web site for ease of access (it should be completed by 12/19).  Once again, the students did a great job presenting this multi-faceted project, which will pave the way for many follow-ups in the years to come.   People in attendance included the principal archaeologist in Venice, Marco Bortoletto (featured as an avatar in many of the powerpoint slides),with his colleague Alberto Zandinella, plus Stefano Piasentini, a long-time friend and historian who spends much time prowling the Venice archive and who was one of the primary inspirers of the Manuscript Transcription Assistant concept
As previously explained, we have secured support for the DNA part of the project from the Genographic Project, which will enable us to contribute to confirming which of the main theories about the origins of the Venetians is more plausible.
For the other two major aspects,  the next steps are to get funding for the Archeology data harvesting system that this team designed, as well as funding to continue working on our uScript online emergent transcription crowdsourcer, which a couple of the team members (Shikhar and Viktoras) intend to turn into their own senior-year technical project (MQP).  I look forward to giving readers many more updates on these three ambitious and revolutionary approaches to the understanding of the genesis of Venice and its People in the years to come!