ADJUNCT CURATOR OF ROMAN COINS
FY 2014 Annual Report
As far as the Roman Department is concerned, 2014 proved to be a pivotal year for the digitization efforts at the Society. In March, the ANS application to the National Endowment for the Humanities was approved, resulting in a major grant of $300,000 allocated to the ANS in order to move forward with the Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) project.
The ANS and its entire staff felt deeply grateful about such a recognition by such a respected body, as it shows how legitimate and strategic for the world of the humanities stands the digitization effort undertaken by the ANS for so many years. As an immediate result, two hires of non-permanent staff were made possible, a cataloguer and a photographer. Approximately 9,000 ANS Roman Imperial coins had been photographed, most of them belonging to the Twelve Caesars range (Augustus-Domitian) with the help of the very generous gesture by Trustee, Mike Gasvoda, who had made this achievement possible. Since June 2014 and the arrival of the NEH grant’s funds, almost 5,000 Roman Imperial coins have been photographed, bringing the total of photographed Roman Imperial coins at the ANS at 14,000 out of about 40,000 existing coins. At the same time, OCRE now displays 19,300 coin types, with 4,000 soon to be incorporated, to be compared with 10,600 only at the end of 2012.
At the same time, collaborative contributions from external collections have been secured: 11,000 coins from the British Museum are displayed now by OCRE alongside a limited number of coins from the Berlin Münzkabinett and the University of Virginia Art Museum. This is a major development, ensuring the wider relevance, representativeness and sustainability of the OCRE project.
Incorporating more coin-types into OCRE had made possible a significant improvement in the way the Roman collection is organized and catalogued. Not only are all the coins in the recently incorporated and about-to-be-photographed Nerva-Caracalla range verified and checked with the respective catalogues, resulting in a significant number of database amendments, but all the physical trays are reordered and each coin tagged with its exact location. This will ensure a much easier access to the collection in future, for researchers and curators alike.
Finally, 2013/14 has been a very active year on the publication and external event side, with several significant papers published or about to be published, notably in the AJN 25 and AJN 26 as well as in the forthcoming Essays in Honor of Rick Witschonke, that is co-edited between Peter van Alfen, Michel Amandry and myself. We also recently contributed as a guest speakers at the New York Numismatic Club, as well as the success of the International Network for the Study of Late Antiquity’s international conference at ISAW in June 2014, where we delivered the first contribution. We will participate in the forthcoming Society for Classical Studies’ annual meeting in New Orleans, with a panel incorporating two ANS summer seminar alumni alongside a senior European university professor.
We are planning to carry-on moving forward in these three directions as well as with a few strategic limited acquisitions in the coming year.