MARGARET THOMPSON ASSOCIATE CURATOR OF GREEK COINS
FY 2014 Annual Report
My curatorial activities this year, as in the past, were split between the Greek and medals cabinets. On the Greek side, most of my efforts were directed towards continuing the reorganizing our substantial collection of nearly 12,000 Alexander-type coins, which have remained arranged basically as Edward Newell had left them in the late 1930s. Although now almost a quarter century old, Martin Price’s magisterial work, The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus (1991), is still the key reference to the series and serves as my guide to reordering our collection. By the time this project is completed, hopefully next year, all of our Alexander-type coinage will, at long last, have Price numbers assigned, be physically rearranged according to the Price numbers, have up-to-date, standardized entries available on MANTIS, which will include high quality digital photographs of the coins. Already MANTIS users will notice thousands of new Alexander records and photographs, and can expect thousands more in the coming year as I work towards completing this task.
On the medals side, my efforts this year were focused on a new and innovative project, Art of Devastation (www.numismatics.org/aod/), a web-based catalogue and research tool designed to help in the identification, cataloguing, and contextualization of the many types of non-monetary numismatic items issued during and right after the First World War (1914-1918). These items include art medals, commemorative medals, and tokens. Art of Devastation aims to be the first ever comprehensive, easily searchable, linked data catalogue of the tens of thousands of different types of medals and tokens produced in response to this major conflict. Among its various features, the website allows users to see where on a map the events depicted took place, and to learn about the people, events, and even materiel, such as Lee Enfield rifles, depicted on the objects. Art of Devastation was launched in time for the centennial of the beginning of the Great War in August, and has continued to expand ever since, now incorporating the roughly 1,400 First World War medals in the ANS collection.
Once again Rick Witschonke and I co-directed the Society’s Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics in June and July. We were especially pleased to welcome this year Prof. Suzanne Frey-Kupper, of the University of Warwick in Britain and a renowned specialist on Roman and Punic coinages, as our Visiting Scholar. This year’s crop of seven students hailed from Emory University, the University of Otago in New Zealand, McMaster University, the University of Michigan, the University of Kentucky, Brown University, and Rutgers University. This wonderfully bright and cheerful group took on a number of challenging projects, supervised by myself, Suzanne Frey-Kupper, Andy Meadows and Gilles Bransbourg, including the coinage for Cleopatra minted at Chalcis in Syria, a die study of the coinage of Amphipolis of Demetrius Poliorcetes, a die study of the Byzantine hexagram coinage, a hoard of Judean and Nabatean bronzes, and a reexamination of the Roman victoriatus coinage. We look forward to seeing our students’ work in print in the near future.
One of the highlights of my research and publication efforts this year was celebrating the publication of Essays in Honour of Roberto Russo, a Festschrift edited by myself and Rick Witschonke. This volume, published by Numismatica Ars Classica, focuses on Greek and Roman numismatics and includes several groundbreaking essays on Roman Republican coinage.
I’m pleased to announce as well, that yet another Festschrift this one in honor of Rick Witschonke himself, edited by myself, Michel Amandry, and Gilles Bransbourg, is nearly ready to go to the printer. I’m especially pleased with the number of high quality contributions to this volume, mostly on Roman period topics, from nearly two dozen colleagues and friends of Rick’s, which are a testament to the impact he has made on our field. We hope that this book, published by the ANS, will be in hand early next year. Besides these book projects, I completed a half dozen other smaller research projects including articles on a variety of archaic Greek and Arabian coin problems and medallic art, and gave talks around the globe and closer to home on topics including the concepts of Greek minting authority and the beginnings of coinage.
I have continued as well to edit and oversee publication of the quarterly ANS Magazine, which again this year won an award from the Numismatic Literary Guild, and I have continued to serve as an editor for the European research journal Notae Numismaticae, and to serve as well on the editorial committees of several other European numismatic journals. My primary research and writing focus at the moment, however, is continuing to plod along on the manuscript of my monograph, Political Economies of Archaic Coinage, a study that analyzes the interactions and intersections of the political and economic realms in the decision processes that lay behind the production of Mediterranean coinages between c. 630 and 480 BC.
Peter van Alfen