FLAME will be returning to the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies. FLAME is sponsoring panel 251, at Schneider 1155, on Friday (May 11) at 1:30pm in the panel The Late Antique and Early Medieval Economy. The panel includes:
Lee Mordechai (University of Notre Dame), Synthesizing Late Antique Coin Circulation across Western Eurasia
Florin Curta (University of Florida), Outside the Frame: The Current State of Research on the “Transformation of the Roman World”
Mateusz Bogucki (University of Warsaw) and Arkadiusz Dymowski (University of Warsaw), Use of Roman Coins in Polish Lands in Middle Ages according to Coin Finds and Written Sources
We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!
One of the issues we’ve encountered is the fact that the mint of some coins is unknown or uncertain, but we still want to acknowledge that those coins were found in a certain find. To overcome this, we added a feature to Find Focus that allows the user to show or hide those uncertain and unknown mint locations. The screenshot below shows the result of a search for one of the finds from Beirut. If you look carefully you’ll notice the red circle in northwestern Turkey – which is such an uncertain mint location – we know that these coins were minted somewhere in the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire, but we’re not sure exactly where. The red circle would appear on the map only if the checkbox on the left panel is checked – if you would rather see only the certain finds – simply leave the checkbox unchecked!
We are glad to announce that we’ve passed the 2,000th find in FLAME’s main database. All these 2,000 coin finds – excavations, hoards and single finds – include a few hundred thousand coins between them all. Every additional coin find in the database improves the image we have for the late antique economy. Let’s hope #3,000 comes soon!
Below: a visualization of all the coin finds in the database at the moment (each green dot is a find). We’re still working on ways to take into account the imbalances of find coverage in our analysis.
FLAME has recently imported the bronze coins minted in the mint of Thessaloniki over late antiquity, based on a dataset collected by Andrei Gandila. This will allow us to examine a more comprehensive circulation of the output of a single mint. Users will be able to search this dataset independently of the rest of the data in FLAME, or together with other datasets.
We’re glad to announce that FLAME has recently imported over one hundred thousand coins from the British Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) into its main database. The process required overcoming some technical challenges because of the large number of finds, but our developer found an efficient workaround. The result gives us extremely good coverage for fourth century Britain. Since looking at all the data now will skew things towards thinking that Britain was a major economic center (it was not), we’ve also added a new feature that allows users to select or deselect certain datasets – so users interested in the UK would be able to focus on analyzing the finds from the PAS, while users who don’t want to include that in their calculations can simply deselect that.
Below, a map of the finds imported from the PAS – the numbers represent the numbers of finds (each of which could have any number of coins).
The development of FLAME’s second stage continues at a good pace. The increasing complexity of the application also results in increasing numbers of bugs and errors we keep discovering – in both the data we have in our database and the tools we’ve developed to analyze it all. It’s admittedly less exciting (and very time consuming!) to search for these bugs and correct them, as we now need to test and check anything users might do with the application and make sure that they all work as intended and in view of the data in the database. We must fix these bugs however before we can open FLAME’s tools up to the broader public, as we want to keep a high quality standard in our data and tools.
FLAME will be returning to the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies. Members of the FLAME Project will present in panel 467, at Schneider 1155, on Saturday (May 13) at 3:30pm in the panel Exploring the Early Medieval Economy: From Macro to Micro. Within the panel will present:
Lee Mordechai (Princeton University), The FLAME Project: Visualizing Transnational Medieval Economic Networks
Andrei Gandila (University of Alabama-Huntsville), Fraternal Enemies Reconciled: History, Numismatics, and Archaeology
Jane Sancinito (University of Pennsylvania), The Monetary Economy of Early Medieval Syria in its Mediterranean Context
We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!
We are glad to announce that FLAME has recently started working on importing external databases into its own structure. We FLAME members see this as the best way to move research forward through collaboration. The first database we have imported is the British Portable Antiquities Scheme, which includes about half a million coins relevant for FLAME’s focus on Late Antiquity. The coins are currently housed in a separate database for both technical reasons and scholarly reasons – once we move such a large number of coins into the regular database, it would skew all the results of our tools, creating the false impression that Britain was an economic center, whereas in reality things were closer to the opposite. You can see a screen shot below, showing coins minted between 325 and 400 that were found in Britain. The numbers within circles represent the number of coins found in each area in the form of a cluster. Zooming in, these clusters break up into smaller clusters. We are keen to have additional collaborations with other projects in the future, which would be credited in the live version of our application.
As part of the development of FLAME’s Phase II: Circulation, we have developed a feature that displays the main mints operating during a selected time period, linking them to all the locations in which coins minted in that period were found. Once polished and with enough underlying data, this tool would be able to suggest how commercial, trade or movement networks operated in a given time in late antiquity. You can see an example of how this tool operates below. The colored circles represent mints, while the lines going out of them are to the locations in which coins from these mints were found.
On March 18, FLAME Director Lee Mordechai will present FLAME’s most recent developments at the ninth B.D. Kochnev Memorial Seminar in Central Asian and Middle Eastern Numismatics at Hofstra University. His talk’s title is “The Transformation of the Late Antique Economy in West Asia: Digital Data and Databases“.
You can find the seminar’s full-day schedule here.