ARCH - Ancient Coinage as Related Cultural Heritage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford


The ARCH project uses Linked Open Data technology to establish, for the first time, an overarching platform for the study, curation, archiving and preservation of the monetary heritage of the ancient world. As such, it squarely addresses the concerns expressed in Topic 3 of the JPICH call: Safeguarding Digital Heritage. Using the newly developed knowledge organisation system it will create a framework consisting at the highest level of a single, unified portal across multiple online typological resources currently under development. These resources will in turn be linked to a body of data drawn from two major European collections, as well as a large corpus of material drawn from commercial contexts (auction catalogues). The overarching portal will serve as a central point of access to this data for multiple audiences, as well as a demonstration of the extensibility of this approach to other geographic areas. Associate Partner-projects based in Germany and the United States will contribute typologies for this purpose. As a proof of concept of the research applicability of this framework, ARCH will develop one geographical focus - Pre-Roman Spain and southern Gaul - in the form of a specific online reference tool that will draw upon both categories of data (public collections and objects in commerce), as well as a program of research designed to exploit the opportunities offered by such a systematic and Linked Open Data infrastructure. This will examine questions of monetary and cultural connectivity and interaction across the borders of Spain and France in antiquity, in collaboration with leading scholars in the field of this geographical area, and monetary and cultural history, working as Associate Partners based in Paris, Orle'ans, and Valencia.

Planned Impact

1. The Big Picture
The ARCH project interface will serve as a focal point for:

Future research work on the classification of ancient coinages across the Mediterranean world and into Asia.

Cataloguing of collections in cultural heritage institutions across multiple countries on an easily extensible basis, even where local expertise in the specific objects is not available.

The further development of an international metadata standard ( that is already in use or development in more than 32 cultural heritage projects in 11 countries. The impact of the implementation of the ARCH project will thus be immediate and international. The 32 cultural heritage institutions already 'plugged into' the metadata standards will benefit from a comprehensive new resource for the Iberian peninsula specifically, but for pre-Roman coinage more broadly as a result of the metadata enhancement. Through outreach and dissemination activities we will further extend the uptake of the standards in the community of cultural heritage institutions.

2. Social Impact
ARCH will also seek to reach individuals interested in the monetary, economic and cultural heritage of Europe. Coinage is just one part of a much wider and richer archaeological body of material with a broad societal appeal, and a powerful ability to speak to European publics about their personal and communal pasts. Furthermore, through the LOD approach taken by ARCH, the information created and preserved by this project will not exist within narrow silos of specialist databases, but will be exposed for reuse on the semantic web. The tools created by the project provide just one form of access to a large body of cultural heritage data. That data will be free to use and repackage within cultural and educational contexts such as online courses, exhibitions and other digital mediations. The potential exists for more practical exploitation in terms of the protection and preservation of material heritage, including law-enforcement. Curators in Cultural Heritage institutions also need resources such as that provided by ARCH to allow provenance research on objects they may wish to acquire.

3. Specific Impact
Through the monedaiberica resource, ARCH will provide an Open Access digital corpus of the coinages of the Iberian Peninsula between the 6th and 1st centuries BC, fully compatible with and Online Greek Coinage platforms. This includes Greek, Punic (Carthaginian), Iberian, Celtiberian, Vasconian and Lusitanian issues, a remarkable sample of mixed European cultural heritage (see map). The final publication of a powerful website of Ancient Spanish coinage constructed on Open Access principles is a primary objective for the dissemination of this project. Beside the power of its contents, which will be accessible to multiple languages through a multilingual interface, it will become a model of data architecture for Digital Humanities in the numismatic and archaeological fields. MIB will create a virtual work environment for interdisciplinary research based on ancient coins under the Open Access model. This tool will give researchers ubiquitous, trusted and easy access to the vast and largely untapped heritage of Ancient coinages. The aim of the VWE is to link coins with multidisciplinary contents through a non-structured, multiuser, multilingual, multi thesaurus that will provide one standard tool to research into the numismatic field.


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Title ARCH A typology of Ancient Greek Coinage 
Description The ARCH project uses Linked Open Data technology and the standards of the project to establish an overarching portal for the study, curation, archiving and preservation of the monetary heritage of the ancient world - the Greek oikoumene. It aims to present a high-level overview of all the coin types traditionally subsumed within the discipline of 'Greek' numismatics, from the 7th to the 1st century BC. These are made available partly through a new typology (IRIS) created as part of the ARCH project based on existing bibliography, and partly through links to other online portals that cover specific regions or types of coinage. The constituent parts can be found at: IRIS Moneda Iberica (MIB) Hellenistic Royal Coinage Corpus Nummorum Online Geographically, the project thus encompasses the ancient Mediterranean world and all of its cultures (with the exception of Rome and its provinces), as well as eastern regions as far as Arabia and the eastern limits of the empire of Alexander the Great. The following regions and coinages are not included and may be consulted elsewhere: Parthia: Bactria and the Indo-Greeks: The OXUS-INDUS Project Iron-Age Britain: Iron Age Coins in Britain 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The ARCH interface creates, for the first time, an overarching portal for the major Linked Open Data typologies of Greek coinage. It thereby creates the most complete account ever assembled in one place of the typology of ancient Greek coinage. The site is still in beat, but should be transformational when fully release later in 2023. 
Title IRIS (IDs Recorded In Skeleton form) 
Description IRIS (IDs Recorded In Skeleton form), is a high-level typology of Greek coinage created on the principles of Linked Open Data and according to the standards of the project. It provides a typological overview of all ancient coinages not included in existing online typological projects, with a view to establishing a basic coverage of the entire field of Greek numismatics. Broadly speaking, this covers the ancient world from Spain, around the Mediterranean and Black Sea as far as North Africa, as well as the areas of Asia conquered by Alexander the Great. At its first release it thus serves to fill the gaps between the following projects: • Moneda Iberica (MIB: • Hellenistic Royal Coinage ( • Corpus Nummorum Online ( 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This dataset completes, for the first time, a complete typology of all ancient Greek coinage. Release is currently in Beta, pending final checks it will be opened to contributions of data to the International Museum community. 
Description ARCH Oxford Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Crossing the Mountains. Communities, identities and mobilities across the Pyrenees
(5th-1st century B.C.). This was the concluding international conference of the project, held in Oxford on 28th-29th March 2022. The aim of the conference was to produce a new synthesis of our current knowledge about the history and archaeology of the Pyrenees and its margins in the Late Iron Age (5th-1st c. BC), to set agianst the ppatter nthat emerges from the numismatic evidence. Diverse points of view were sought from a group of the foremost scholars in their respective fields, so as to explore the specific avenues of opportunity created by the project, including patterns in settlements, routes, ceramics, jewellery, religious practices, weapons, mining activities, as well as numismatics. Attention has been paid to regional singularities, mobilities and trade, processes of interaction and hybridization. For each topic, we asked participants to give priority to broad synthetical approaches.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
Description Presentation at the International Numismatic Congress, Warsaw 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. F. Duyrat and I presented the overall ARCH project as part of a Ropund Table session i convened at the International Numismatic Congress in Warsaw in September 2022. The Monediberica part of the ARCH project was presneted by Prof. Ripollès and Dr Gozalbes in the same session
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
Description Valencia Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Universitat de València,
Facultat de Geografia i Història, Sala de Juntas, 1st floor
9th-10th January, 2020

This workshop was organized by the ARCH project team to introduce a variety fo Cultural Heritage practitioners to the new forms of digital organsiation of numismatic material being developed as part fo the project. The aim was to stimulate common working practices among relevant museum staff and researchers in the area of southwestern Gaul and ancient Spain. Participants included Museum curators, archaeologists and university academics, as well as some undergraduates.

The workshop led to requests for further participation in the project, as well the planning of a final project conference.

The programme was as follows:

Session 1: numismatic resources (Chair: P.P. Ripollès)
Numismatic resources - the geography of discoveries, typology and epigraphy:
9.15 Monedaiberica (Pere Pau Ripollès, Manuel Gozalbes, Francisco Onielfa & Alejandro Peña)
9.45 The coin finds geolocation in Numisdata (Agustín Diez)
10.00 RPC online (Jérôme Mairat)
10.15 ARCH (Frédérique Duyrat, Julien Olivier, Andrew Meadows, John Pybus)
10.40 Chemical composition of Iberian coins and its representation in online numismatic databases (Charles Parisot-Sillon)
10.55 Trésors monétaires: hoards and finds of the south-west of France (Vincent Drost)
11.10 Progress on the CMC (Laurent Callegarin and Eneko Hiriart)

Brief Questions/Discussion

11.45 Coffee break

Session 2: current questions and resources in archaeology and epigraphy of south-west Gaul and Spain (1) (Chair: Charles Parisot-Sillon)
12.15 Corpus Urbium Baeticarum (Alicia Arévalo and Elena Pulido)
12.30 BEIGE (Epigraphy Italy-Gaul-Spain) (Coline Ruiz-Darasse)
12.45 Hesperia (Epigraphy Iberia) (Noemi Moncunill)
13.00 Flora and Fauna (Consuelo Mata)
Brief Questions/Discussion

13.30 Lunch

Session 3: current questions and resources in archaeology and epigraphy of south-west Gaul and Spain (2) (Chair: Eneko Hiriart)
15.00 ArkeoGIS Strasbourg (Loup Bernard)
15.15 Diplomatic relations between Rome and local communities in Northern Spain (Elena Torregaray)
15.30 The relationship between military and monetary activities (François Cadiou)
15.45 Pyrenean mines (Emmanuelle Meunier)
16.00 Integrating Resources (Paula Granados)

Session 4: Brainstorming (Chair: A. Meadows)

16.30-18.00 Break-out Groups

Group 1: Inscriptions, coins and databases;
Topics for consideration: Linguistic matters, the interoperability between archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic databases, issues related to the encoding of Palaeohispanic scripts, etc.

Group 2: Policies, networks and territories,
Topics for consideration:
a. The appearance of coinage on both sides of the Pyrenees; b. Monetary practices, trends and supply; c. Pyrenean encounters: itineraries and monetary influences. How to confront numismatic hierarchies and ontologies with the current state of knowledge in other historical and archaeological fields, with a focus on circulations and endogenous, Celtic, Iberian, Greek, Punic, Roman influences.

18.00-18.30 Group Reports and Discussion

Friday, 10th January

Session 5: Preparation of the preliminary program of the Oxford 2021 conference

9.30-12.00 General discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019