Posted May 30th, 2007 by Andrea Vianello

Arachne is a splendid collection of photographs related to Classical antiquities. There are statues, buildings, panoramas of archaeological sites, drawings, ceramics; artistic and common objects, epigraphs and many other subjects. A section also includes later “reproductions” or imitations of the Classical style, such as the Neoclassical style. There are few websites that can be heartily recommended for teaching to a wider audience, and this is one. Arachne is a rare “editor’s choice” that should be used and supported by lecturers and teachers to illustrate their presentations of the Classical world; the initial free registration should not deter anybody.

Very large collections of digital photographs are being assembled by many sites thanks to the use of digital cameras in museums and archaeological sites, but it is not always evident if the photograph reproduces an original, a postcard or a modern reproduction, not to mention issues with copyrighted materials. Associated metadata and tags can also be plain wrong. With Arachne instead, a dedicated team is taking their own photographs, and they are all checked by and catalogued for archaeologists. There are other websites with large collections of photographs of Classical antiquities, such as the Beazley archive, but these focus on specific collections and might be less suitable for teaching, when a variety of representatives sources should be preferred.