The database of the Roman Provincial Coinage in the Antonine Period project potentially comprises one of the largest collections of images and related inscriptions from the ancient world which is searchable by iconography, place, and time. The database is being made available online to encourage the widest possible use, primarily as a research tool, but also as an aid to teaching, and to allow museums, archaeologists and other interested parties to identify their own coins and, where possible, to contribute additional information in advance of conventional publication.
The website contains only very limited introductory material, designed to help the user unfamiliar with the material. An extensive general introduction and detailed introductions to each region and mint will be included in a conventional publication through the British Museum Press and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The extensive introductory material required for conventional publication will take some time, so that we are making the material available online first. We hope that online presentation will itself elicit additional material for the conventional publication. The website will be updated after the definitive catalogue has been published, and at this stage final catalogue numbers will be inserted. Ongoing academic and IT support for the project will be supplied by the Ashmolean Museum.
The underlying project is being undertaken on a Microsoft Access database with linked digital images. The database currently comprises 47536 coins from 13729 different types from 500 cities.
The holdings of all ten core collections have been incorporated into the database, as have most of the coins published in the standard academic literature. In the case of a few cities (Carallia, Colybrassus, Lyrbe, Magydus, Perga, Philippopolis, Selge, Side and Sillyum) new standard treatments are expected soon, and we are awaiting those studies before incorporating the material into the database on a systematic basis. Some material has been included from auction and sales catalogues, but the nature and scale of these sources prevents anything approaching full coverage. We welcome the feedback of new material, which either adds new types or modifies the description of existing types.
The ultimate aim is to illustrate at least one specimen per coin type (i.e. 13–14,000 images in total). This is not always possible, but there are also many cases where more than one illustration of each type has been provided. The provision of images is a major focus of current work. Further images will be added to the website on a rolling programme as they are acquired and processed.
To promote discussion prior to publication an international symposium was organized in Oxford in 2002 on the topic of Coinage and Identity. A resulting volume, with chapters by sixteen leading international scholars, was published by Oxford University Press in 2005 under the title Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces.