The Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP) of the American Numismatic Society has completed its first significant data upload. This platform, which launched as a functional integrated database system in December 2020, is searchable and focuses on Roman coinage from the period of the Roman Republic (509 BCE–27 BCE).
The project relies on the foundational research of Richard Shaefer, who compiled a significant archive of images of Roman Republican coins and organized these images by distinctive die types. In November 2020, the ANS received a grant from the Arete Foundation for a two-year pilot project to build a database capable of reflecting Schaefer’s die analyses and enabling that work to be expanded in the future by both Schaefer and the RRDP team.
RRDP draws from and integrates the Coinage of the Roman Republic Online (CRRO) database, adding more than 5,000 new specimens dating from 92 to 75 BCE. If this pilot project is successful, the RRDP team aims to develop a means by which new materials can be directly incorporated into RRDP through a web interface. This will allow the platform to be a living die study that is constantly improving in accuracy rather than a static archive. The ANS will collaborate with other die study initiatives to ensure the RRDP data is fully integrated into other major research projects.
RRDP offers particular innovation by drawing on data from archival auction catalogue materials, in addition to major numismatic collections all over the world. Archival materials are housed digitally in the online archives of the Society, ARCHER, and a new searchable database, SITNAM: Integrated Technology for Non-LOD and Auction Materials, which has isolated type specimens from those archives.
Co-directors of the project, Dr. Lucia Carbone, Assistant Curator of Roman Coins at the ANS, and Professor Liv M. Yarrow of CUNY Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, hosted a virtual Long Table discussion for members of the Society on Friday, 16th July 2021. During the program, they presented an update on the project and a demonstration of the platform. Numismatic researcher Jeremy Haag, who has partnered with Professor Yarrow, presented a case study on how RRDP has furthered his research.
Carbone and Yarrow authored a recent piece for Pocket Change, the blog of the ANS, “Developments and Preliminary Data Release for the Roman Republican Die Project”, explaining the current implementation progress. In addition to Carbone and Yarrow, Ethan Gruber, ANS Director of Data Science, developed the extensive technical components of the project. Columbia University PhD candidate Alice Sharpless works as a curatorial assistant on the project part-time and will continue full time later this year. Miriam Bernstein, who received a Kurz Undergraduate Research Assistantship to work on the project, continues to support RRDP in a volunteer capacity.
Here you can search the Roman Republican Die Project database.
For further information about the American Numismatic Society, visit the ANS website.
Last year we reported that the archive of Richard Schaefer was taken over by the ANS.