Creative deep map project recaptures the wonder of 19th century Palestine maps by incorporating stories of travelers like Mark Twain. .
Deep Maps Recover the Wonder of Exploration
Throughout history, maps have been important to humans as a way of understanding the world around them. Maps have been made out of a variety of materials—rocks, papyrus, charts, books, lines in the sand—even verbal images.
Nineteenth-century American Protestants, believing that knowledge of the Bible was essential to their salvation, came to know an imagined Holy Land landscape through biblical stories and maps of the Holy Land depicting ancient times. Those Americans who traveled to Palestine possessed internalized verbal and visual maps so strong they often felt as if they had been to the Holy Land before. Edward Robinson, sometimes called the father of biblical archeology for his explorations in the Holy Land, wrote about Jerusalem: “From the earliest childhood, I had read of and studied the localities of this sacred spot; now I beheld them with my own eyes; and they all seemed familiar to me, as if the realization of a former dream. I seemed to be again among cherished scenes of childhood, long unvisited, indeed, but distinctly recollected."
I plan to create an innovative deep map project that will employ digital technology to allow viewers to explore maps, texts, and images in new ways and, by doing so, recreate the sense of wonder that 19th century American Protestants felt about verbal descriptions and maps of Palestine.
This project is an outgrowth of the year I spent in Jordan and Israel as a Fulbright scholar, where I learned of the forgotten story of America’s 1848 naval expedition to map the Jordan River and the Dead Sea—led by Lieutenant William Francis Lynch. Actually, I’ve written a book about the expedition, called A Clash of Eagles: America’s Forgotten Mission to Ottoman Palestine
The narrative of the mapping of Palestine, though, extends beyond Lynch’s expedition to other fascinating stories. In the 19th century none of the world’s major powers were particularly interested in spending the money necessary to map Palestine. Unbelievably, they didn’t think that the region had any strategic importance. A full-scale triangulated mapping of Palestine--from Dan to Beer Sheba--did not take place until the 1870s, decades later than other parts of the Middle East.
Until then, scientific mapping was initiated by individuals, like Lt. Lynch, rather than countries. In the early 1840s, when the European powers banded together to force Egyptians out of Palestine because the Egyptian ruler was becoming too powerful, a few officers from the British Sappers and Miners who were in the area to map coastal installations—what few there were—and they decided to map Jerusalem and what they could of Palestine—just because they wanted to. An exclusive edition of the map they produced was printed for the British foreign office but never publicly published—until now, that is, as it will be featured in my web-based deep map. There are so many more fascinating stories, and I want to make them accessible in my deep map.
How I'll Proceed
I’m asking for partial funding to spend three weeks in Britain studying at institutes in London and Oxford to learn both the history of cartography and the latest GIS-enabled digital technology. The deep map I create will connect various 19th centruy maps by geotagging locations. Thus, for example, if you find Jerusalem on one of the 19th century maps, you can click on a menu and choose to see Jerusalem on another old map, then on current a map of Jerusalem—on Google Maps.
Place locations will also be geotagged to descriptions from books and journals written by19th century explorers and travelers. Thus, you can read what Lieutenant Lynch and Edward Robinson, for example, had to say about the Dead Sea, and also what Mark Twain said—as he also travelled in Palestine in 1867. And, of course, I’ll add commentary about wonderful human-interest stories that bring the maps and descriptions alive.
I’ve already done some research at the New York Public Library’s map collection, courtesy of a short-term fellowship, and I’ve obtained research funds from my home university. But these aren’t enough to completely fund the trip. I hope you’ll make a donation for this project—both to help me get the training I need to complete this deep map project and also because I’d like, if you’re interested, to keep you informed about my progress, so that you can explore the deep map website as it begins and as it grows.
I'll send you a classic postcard from London, for your generous donation:
Choice of T-shirts:
My new book, being published by Lyons Press in Sept. 2012, also a possible reward for your donation:
Choice of sets of 10 notecards with a brief history of the expedition on the back:
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
My sincere thanks for your support of this project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
Postcard of a classic London or Oxford scene, with a personalized note, mailed from Britain. Also, your choice of a "Mark Twain, the Innocent Tourist" notecard or America's 1848 Palestine Expedition notecard, with my hand-written, heart-felt thank you. My special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
Your choice of a T-shirt of Mark Twain, the "Full-Dressed Tourist," an illustration from "The Innocents Abroad," or a T-shirt featuring America's 1848 Palestine Expedition (your choice of T-shirt size). Also, my special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
Your choice of a 10-notecard set of "Mark Twain, the Innocent Tourist," an illustration from "The Innocents Abroad" or America's 1848 Palestine Expedition, plus one notecard expressing my heartfelt thanks. Also, my special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
Signed copy of "Clash of Eagles: America's Forgotten Mission to Ottoman Palestine," my new book about America's 1848 Palestine Expedition, which will be published by Lyons Press in Sept. 2012. Also, my special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
Signed copy of "Clash of Eagles: America's Forgotten Mission to Ottoman Palestine", my new book about America's 1848 Palestine Expedition. Plus your selection of either T-shirts (you choose the size) and a classic British postcard with my heartfelt thanks, mailed from London. Also, my special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
All the above--a classic British postcard with my heartfelt thanks mailed from London, both T-shirts (your choice of sizes), both sets of notecards, and a signed copy of "Clash of Eagles: America's Forgotten Mission to Ottoman Palestine," my new book about America's 1848 Palestine Expedition (being published by Lyons Press). Also, my special thanks with your name listed on my contributors page and updates on the deep map project. (Everything mailed in June except the book, which will be published in Sept.)Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)