About the Project
Thrace, an ancient region encompassing modern Bulgaria, Northern Greece, and European
Turkey, is distinguished by eight centuries of interesting coinage which includes a rich variety
of coin types. The initial goal of this project, funded by the German Research Foundation
(Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) from 2012 until 2015, was the development of a
numismatic web portal. Thracian coins found in museums and private collections throughout
the world have been virtually collected in this online database, which is free and open to the
public. At its core, the portal is based on the collection of plaster casts from the research
project for Greek coins (Griechisches Münzwerk) at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of
Sciences and Humanities, as well as the coin collection from the Berlin Münzkabinett.
Additionally, it is possible for museums and collections, as well as individuals, to document
and publish their collections through the portal. This digital publication, which includes a
recognisable reference number, image, weight, and other repository information, is an
effective measure that can be taken to protect ancient cultural heritage.
An important feature of this database was the development of a program that enables us to reconstruct the monetary system of an antique region, including the reconstruction of the dies used in the production of coins. Not the coin itself but the die deduced by analyzing the coins provides the necessary information for the comprehension of the peculiarity of coin emissions.
After the first phase of the project, during which the individual coins and, wherever possible, the dies were recorded, we subsequently intended to develop a Thracian typology of coins. This will be accomplished during the current three-year period of funding from the German Research Foundation, which began in 2017. This typology is set to become a significant milestone within the international effort to establish a type repository for ancient Greek coins (http://www.greekcoinage.org/), realised under the auspices of the International Numismatic Council. In terms of developing such a typology, a consequent subdivision into landscapes, as well as a cooperative collaboration, will be indispensable.
A type is generated by the design and legend on the obverse and reverse of a coin, in combination with the nominal and the monetary standard. But which variations of motif and legend are possible within the very same defined type? How shall we differentiate between type and variant? These questions have to be clarified more generally in terms of Greek numismatics, and the result has to be applied to Thracian coins. The process of classification will be supported by IT and will be formalized and specified by clear rules. In doing so, we intend to establish transparency and clarity and thus facilitate the development of this process, even beyond Thrace.
Developing a typology of Thracian coins gives us the opportunity to determine the coinage present within the findings accordingly. In this manner we can obtain a temporal and spatial circulation of types and motifs. This circulation will be visualized with maps and timelines in the portal, since this visualization will enable us to recognize new relationships among the data.
For the usage of metrological parameters, analytical tools such as diagrams and frequency tables are set to be integrated into the database. The intended mapping of MySQL database to RDF will allow for the linking to other data portals on the Semantic Web. We use unique identifiers for the coin and type descriptions, as well as all other relevant data fields where possible, especially those that are stored in the numismatic namespace (www.nomisma.org). Mints, rulers, material, weight standards, denominations, and persons are linked to nomimsa.org-identifiers. These identifiers enable exchange via Linked Open Data.
Please become a member of the community! (Join us!)We offer the possibility to import or link Thracian coins from collections which are already online. You can also insert your coins directly into the portal, where you have an additional field for internal notes that are not visible to the public. The identification of every Thracian coin is made easy by standardised descriptions in English and German, which make external data entries quick and easy.
We are very grateful to the colleagues, auction firms, and collectors who have already shared their material with us. Please click on the “Participate” button, whether you want to expand your research prospects to or enrich the database with your own coins, sharing them with an international community. Thank you very much! We look forward to your contributions!