NAHAN is a new international project aimed at creating a platform for documents from archaeological archives held in a series of European and North African institutions. Initiated in February 2016, the partnership is a loose network, linked initially by a Memorandum of Understanding. The project functions under the international ‘umbrella‘ of ICCROM-Athar, while Elizabeth Fentress acts as scientific co-ordinator. A platform is now being created jointly by the CNRS laboratories of the Centre Camille Jullian (CCJ) and Archéologie & Philologie d’Orient et d’Occident (AOrOc) . The platform will be an open-access resource, and woill both harvest data from other sites where documents are already online, and provide sustainable space to hold digitized documents. It would also allow the posting of catalogue entries rather than documents, in the case of an institution holding documents catalogued but not yet digitized.
Our aim is to provide a resource for all those who hold archives on North African archaeology and wish to make the public, or to provide for their long-term preservation, as well as for scholars who wish to study them. We are working on a a ‘proof of concept‘ that will unite the archives already on line of the CCJ and then, as decided in the initial meeting, to concentrate on the archives of 5 major North African cities: Volubilis, Cherchel, Carthage, Leptis Magna, and Cyrene. We hope that the existence of the site will enable partners to mak major funding requests, not only from the EU but also from various national ministries involved in overseas development.
On a smaller scale we are providing help to our North African partners in the cataloguing of their collections and the training of their personelle, as well as seeking funding for infrastructure for archives such as those in Tripoli. It is proposed that one method of cataloguing might come in the form of subventions for North African scholars who wish to study archives in European countries, or to receive more formal archival training. Quite apart from funding at the level of the project as a whole, it is hoped that the existence of the platform and the network will give individual partners leverage to raise money for digitizing their own archives.