About the Project
Corpus Nummorum Online is a web portal devoted to the ancient coins of Lower Moesia, Thrace, Mysia, and the Troad. This is a pilot project for assembling ancient Greek coinage by region and mint for the various purposes of research and cultural heritage preservation. The research database is based primarily on Berlin collections, which include coins in the Münzkabinett Berlin from approximately 104 mints in the aforementioned regions, as well as an extensive collection of plaster casts that were made from coins in various collections worldwide and deposited at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). These datasets will be further supplemented by digital museum catalogues and material from other sources. In line with the concept of public science, the portal also offers the possibility of augmenting the database by registering coins externally. The database makes it possible to sort individual coins systematically and group them by mints and types, as well as by dies that were used in the minting process. If needed, types can also be subdivided or arranged into larger groups, such as series or issues. All coins in the portal are scientifically described in both German and English. Standardised criteria for the description of coin images, both for coin types and individual specimens, have been developed (for the description guidelines, click here or use the Help button). As a collective endeavour of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Münzkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, and the Big Data Lab of Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, the portal is being developed in close collaboration with other international initiatives for the typological presentation of Greek coins in the Semantic Web, such as the Online Greek Coinage project, which is under the patronage of the International Numismatic Council (https://www.greekcoinage.org/). All relevant database fields are linked to stable Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) of numismatic concepts (www.nomisma.org). Because the portal is funded through various external grant projects, there is variation in the scope of the data and the depth of coverage, but the overarching goal remains consistent: to create type catalogues for each respective coinage.
During the first period of the project (2013–2016), which was funded by the German Research Foundation within the framework of "Development and Digitization of Object- Related Scientific Collections", more than 26,000 plaster casts of Thracian coins (representing ca. 14,000 coins) from various collections were scanned, and over 3,600 Thracian coins of the Berlin Coin Cabinet were catalogued. The latter were also published in the interactive catalogue of the Münzkabinett Berlin (https://ikmk.smb.museum/home?lang=en). In order to aid in the identification and classification of coins, the web portal www.corpus-nummorum.eu was developed. The first funding phase resulted in the standardised descriptions of more than 7,000 coins and often recorded the dies used for their production.
Since 2017, the focus of the three-year-project has been the creation of a typology of Thracian coinages, courtesy of a renewed funding period within the framework of "Research Data in Practice" as part of the Scientific Library Services and Information Systems program "Information Infrastructures for Research Data". In order to build a comprehensive online catalogue of Thracian coin types that will serve as both an identification and a research tool, we aim to supplement the data already amassed by material from other collections. The types are given versioned edition numbers, which allow any necessary updates. For the individual mints and the ruler and tribal coinages, overviews of the typology were written, published in the portal, and linked to the types.
In the current project phase, which has been funded by the DFG since July 2021 in the funding program "e-Research Technologies" (phase: implementation), we want to implement research tools for numismatics that are also suitable for other object genres that make use of images and/or writing and are available in large quantities. This involves a) Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods for multilingual and non-standard coin descriptions and their linkage to a hierarchical iconographic thesaurus, and b) image recognition of individual elements and overall compositions using Deep Learning, a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI). For the expansion and further development of these tools, an increase in the amount of data is necessary, which will be achieved by indexing selected holdings of the Lübke-Wiedemann Photo Archive at the Münzkabinett Berlin. The typology for Thrace will be completed and enriched with more material. With the help of these methods and especially from a combination of NLP and image recognition, the material already digitized on the internet will be assigned to the types automatically to a large extent in the future. Furthermore, the project aims at the implementation of quality controls also including the mentioned procedures, which should ensure the scientific quality in spite of the large amounts of data, from which also further projects can benefit. By making available the datasets used and our results in the field of deep learning, the opportunity is provided for other computer scientists* to try out the data/results as a benchmark for new approaches.
Moesia Inferior, Mysia, and the Troad Collections
The project Corpus Nummorum Online – the Ancient Greek Coins of Moesia Inferior, Mysia, and the Troad was launched in July 2018 and is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework "Promoting Research and Development Projects for the Digitisation of Cultural Heritage Objects - eHeritage (Call 1197)”. It focuses primarily on the digitisation of Berlin material pertinent to these regions, i.e. the coins of the Münzkabinett Berlin and the plaster casts of the BBAW which amount to ca. 23,500 specimens. In order to produce type catalogues for these areas, the existing material is arranged by types to which individual coins can be assigned. The coin records provide information about provenance and metrological data, which is accompanied by the standardised descriptions of designs and legends. This builds an important foundation for the type catalogues of Moesia Inferior, Mysia, and the Troad and needs to be updated continuously. This will be done on an ongoing basis as more material from other collections is imported and classified. Additionally, each registered user can upload their own coins, thus making them available for research purposes.
While we are taking all available Thracian coins into consideration, we are focusing primarily on the material in Berlin collections for Moesia Inferior, Mysia, and the Troad. The consistent use of Linked Open Data and the use of URIs enable easy exchange with other collections. The portal database can be accessed from the main page, as well as from regional subpages for Thrace, Moesia Inferior, Mysia, and the Troad. For further queries, please refer to our SPARQL endpoint: https://www.corpus-nummorum.eu/sparql
We would like to use this opportunity to thank our funding agencies, our institutions, and all contributors for their help, support, and cooperation.