The database of the Roman Provincial Coinage 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 volume by volume 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. Extensive general introductions and detailed introductions to each region and mint will be included in the hard-copy volumes published by the British Museum Press and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. 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 technical support for the project will be supplied by the Ashmolean Museum.
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 this work is at different stages for different volumes. 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. 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.