The Roman Republican Die Project (RRDP) of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has completed its first significant data upload. This platform, which launched as a functional integrated database system in December 2020, is searchable at numismatics.org/rrdp/ and focuses on Roman coinage from the period of the Roman Republic (509 – 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, will host a virtual Long Table discussion for members of the Society on Friday, July 16 at 1 PM Eastern Time. During the program, they will present an update on the project and a demonstration of the platform. Numismatic researcher Jeremy Haag, who has partnered with Professor Yarrow, will present 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.
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The American Numismatic Society (ANS), organized in 1858 and incorporated in 1865 in New York State, operates as a research museum under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is recognized as a publicly supported organization under section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) as confirmed on November 1, 1970.