ARCH - Ancient Coinage as Related Cultural Heritage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Classics Faculty


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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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