CHRR Background and Vision

With the launch of CHRR Online hosted by the American Numismatic Society, I have been asked to write a short piece on the background to the database and where we may go with it in the future. More detail on the database up to 2007 is available in Chapter 2 of Patterns and Process in Late Roman Republican Coin Hoards (Lockyear 2007), a PDF of which is available to download. The technical background to the online database is also available (Gruber 2013; Gruber and Lockyear forthcoming) and I am working on a more detailed paper looking at the database and its potential (Lockyear forthcoming). The latter two papers have been combined for ease of reference (Lockyear and Gruber 2013).

The database began as a part of a master’s dissertation in 1988–9 (Lockyear 1989), and was then greatly expanded to form the basis of my PhD (Lockyear 1996). Since then it has been used as a teaching tool, then further updated once more to provide the basis of Patterns and Process. Since the publication of that book, I have been adding to the database sporadically, principally to provide data for further analyses and papers. Quite a bit of the data comes from Michael Crawford’s unpublished archive now held in the British Museum, the rest from published sources. As such, CHRR is a personal research database. It was never intended to be a publically available resource database. The coverage of the database is not comprehensive but reflects the aims for which it was created. It was not intended to be an updated version of Roman Republican Coin Hoards (Crawford 1969). Nevertheless, following publication of Patterns and Process, Rick Witschonke of the ANS convinced me that what I had created as a personal research tool, would be of interest and use to others.

The database has fairly good coverage of:

  • Hoards of denarii from c. 157 BC to the end of the Republic, especially:
    • hoards from Romania.
    • hoards from Italy
    • hoards from Spain and Portugal, in particular from the end of the second century BC.

The database has some coverage of:

  • Hoards of denarii from the early Imperial period up to the issues of C. L. Caesares. This cut off was chosen simply to match that of RRCH.
  • Hoards of denarii from other regions.

The database is very weak for:

  • Early hoards prior to c. 157 BC.
  • Non-denarius hoards.

The database was created principally to record the contents of hoards and very little information was recorded about the circumstances of discovery and so forth. Even within these broad generalisations, there may be some surprising omissions. On the whole my aim was to have “enough data” across the late Republic to allow for meaningful analyses, and as a result I have concentrated on hoards with more than 30 coins. Some hoards have not been fully input because there is an error in the published listing that I haven’t been able to correct. Some may have been omitted simply because I have not spotted the reference or have not been able to track it down.

I would hope that scholars will approach the database with a “glass half full” attitude, i.e., that having access to information about 694 coin hoards and the 115,000 coins they contain is a benefit, rather than a “glass half empty” response to all the things the database omits.

The database is not static. Even since the creation of the Online version, my “working” copy has grown as I have been sent more information, or come across new references. I would be very grateful to scholars working in this area for references or off-prints of material I have missed. The intention is for the online database to be updated sporadically, probably about once a year. As those updates could include, for example, the dropping of a coin list for a newer corrected version, it is essential that anyone using the database as the basis for a publication to take note of the Version Number given on the CHRR Online homepage and to cite this in the bibliography.

What of the future? Ideally, the database would be expanded in two ways. Firstly, the coverage should be made more comprehensive, even if only at a summary level along the lines of RRCH. Secondly, the circumstances of discovery (i.e., the date of the find, whether or not it was in a pot, associated finds etc.) should be improved for all hoards, along the lines proposed for two new hoard projects currently starting-up in the UK (The British Museum/University of Leicester project on Romano-British hoards and the University of Oxford project on Roman Imperial Coin Hoards). Whether these ideal developments can be met or not depends on the usual factors, but I hope that scholars will find my personal research database a useful resource for their own studies, and I welcome any comments, corrections, additional data, references etc.

Lastly, I would like to thank Michael Crawford for sharing his archive, the staff of the British Museum past and present for facilitating access to the archive, Rick Witschonke and Andrew Meadows for their support and facilitating the online version, and Ethan for converting my relational database into the online version, and creating such a powerful website.

Kris Lockyear, 26th July 2013.

  • Crawford, M. H. 1969. Roman Republican Coin Hoards. London: Royal Numismatic Society.
  • Gruber, E. W. 2013. Recent Advancements in Roman Numismatics. Master’s dissertation, University of Virginia.
  • Gruber, E. W. and K. Lockyear forthcoming. “From dBase III+ to the semantic web: twenty-five years of the Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic database.” Proceedings of CAA2013 held in Perth, March 2013.
  • Lockyear, K. 1989. A Statistical Investigation of Roman Republican Coin Hoards. Master’s dissertation, University of Southampton.
  • Lockyear, K. 1996. Multivariate Money. A statistical analysis of Roman Republican coin hoards with special reference to material from Romania. Ph.D. thesis, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
  • Lockyear, K. 2007. Patterns and Process in Late Roman Republican Coin Hoards, 157–2 BC. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
  • Lockyear, K. in prep. “The Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic Database: the history, the data and the potential.” To be submitted to the AJN.