Lillian I. Larsen and Stephen Benzek
It is inherently counterintuitive that Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a scientific system designed for close, exacting analysis, can be used to explore the ancient past, a fundamentally inexact and shifting terrain, comprised of stories, encounters and variable visual details. In this paper, we argue that it is an inversion of its exacting character that makes GIS an effective tool for de-constructing ancient texts and re-constructing ancient contexts. Because any knowledge of antiquity is fragmentary, inconsistencies and disjunctures abound. While traditional scholarship has historically treated such discontinuity as a riddle that through some series of mental gymnastics can be resolved, when examined through a geographical lens, these textual and interpretive ‘gaps’ often signal undetected access points that expose rich lines of inquiry. Evoking provocative questions that resist easy answers, they invite students and scholars to view historical terrain in new ways and consider emergent contours from alternate perspectives.