Thursday, April 13, 2023

1,400 British Museum Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins added to BIGR

1,400 British Museum Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins added to BIGR

Simon Glenn has recently completed the cataloging and photography of the collection of Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins in the British Museum (and these updates have propagated to the online collection). This is one of the largest collections of this genre of coins in the world, numbering a little over 1,400 specimens. At present, there are now approximately 5,400 total objects linked to the types and subtypes in the NEH-AHRC funded Bactrian and Indo-Greek Rulers (BIGR) project.

With a concordance spreadsheet of the British Museum's PRN database IDs and BIGR coin type URIs, I was able to use OpenRefine to extract data from the BM's not-publicly-documented JSON API to parse out weights, diameters, axes, image URLs, and even findspots. Although none of these 1,400 coins include a reference to published hoards in the Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards database, about 60 do have findspots listed in the BM metadata. These place names (fewer than ten distinct places in total) were parsed from the BM and reconciled against entity URIs. The resulting data from OpenRefine were exported into the RDF model and uploaded into the Nomisma SPARQL endpoint yesterday afternoon. As part of this upload process, the Nomisma import back-end extracted preferred labels, coordinates, and geographic hierarchy for each of the Wikidata findspots linked to the British Museum coins.

Euthydemus I 11.1 with one findspot of Bagram, Afghanistan

Since we extract the geographic hierarchy for findspots from Wikidata and import these places into the Nomisma SPARQL endpoint, it is therefore possible to query all coins found within Afghanistan, regardless of whether the place is Kabul or Bagram. For example:

  ?coin nmo:hasFindspot/crm:P7_took_place_at/crm:P89_falls_within+
<> }


where is the entity URI for the country of Afghanistan.

These finds, of course, propagate into the maps on itself, for example, the page for Euthydemus I now lists individual findspots for Bukhara and Bagram.


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