Heberden Coin Room

Research – Externally funded research projects

Externally-funded projects that have been housed in the Herberden Coin Room

Money and Coinage before Alexander

Sponsor: Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.
Director: Henry Kim.
Commenced: 2002.

The project is designed around the writing of a new survey of archaic and classical Greek coinage.

Roman Provincial Coinage in the Antonine Period

Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (formerly AHRB, HRB) and the University of Oxford.
Director: Dr Christopher Howgego.
Researchers: Dr. Volker Heuchert and Dr Liv Yarrow.
Commenced: 1998.

The aim is to produce a standard typology of the provincial coinage of the Roman Empire in the period AD 138-192, together with a commentary and introduction. The catalogue will be based on the ten most important and accessible collections in the world, and on all published material. This will be the first systematic treatment of the civic coinage at the height of the Roman empire, and will have great importance for the study of cultural, religious, political, economic, and administrative history at both a local and an imperial level.

The cataloguing of all ten core collections has been completed (Oxford, London, Cambridge, Glasgow, New York, Paris, Copenhagen, Munich, Berlin, and Vienna). In addition, all published regional studies and monographs on individual mints have been incorporated into the database. The database currently comprises 43,694 specimens from 13,992 types from 388 cities. Conventional publication of the catalogue will be through British Museum Press and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The decision was taken to publish online first in order to elicit new material prior to conventional publication and thus to minimize the need for supplements, which are now considered uneconomic. By June 2006 all the evidence gathered will be publicly available online free of charge.

For further information see:


  • V. Heuchert, ‘Roman provincial coinage’ in C. Alfaro and A. Burnett (eds.), A Survey of Numismatic Research 1996-2001, Madrid, 2003, pp. 313-43.
  • C. Howgego, V. Heuchert and A. Burnett (eds.), Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Roman Provincial Coinage Online

Joint project with the University of Oxford’s Academic Computing Development Team.
Director: Dr Christopher Howgego.
Researchers: Dr Volker Heuchert, Dr Liv Yarrow.
Commenced: 2004.

The Roman Provincial Coinage series will provide a standard typology of the provincial coinage of the Roman Empire from its beginning in 44 BC to its end in AD 296/7. The current Roman Provincial Coinage Online project is confined to the Antonine period (AD 138–192), but it is intended that it will form a model for putting other periods online in the future.

The database comprises one of the largest collections of images and related inscriptions from the ancient world which is searchable by iconography, place, and time. It will be the first typology of ancient coinage available online (as opposed to databases of single collections).

Key goals are:

  • To make this important and extensive body of information and images about the Roman world available to researchers and students in the most flexible and friendly way possible.
  • To exploit the significant potential to increase the use of the material within a wide variety of classical and archaeological studies. The facility to search material online by a variety of criteria will encourage more extensive use than will conventional publication. The primary role of the latter will be as the definitive reference work for this class of material.
  • To encourage feedback of new material from museums, collectors, and dealers, and thus to make the conventional publication more complete, and to allow further updating of the website.

The planned timetable is to launch RPC Online in June 2006.

Medieval credit in England

Records of Debt, the Money Market and the English Economy, 1340-1460.

Sponsors: Leverhulme Trust and Economic and Social Research Council.
Director: Professor Nicholas Mayhew.
Research Fellow: Dr Pamela Nightingale.
Commenced: 1993.

It has been established that credit had a significant part to play in the medieval English economy. Now that there is a growing consensus about the importance of both population and the money supply in determining economic change, there is a need for a thorough and unpartisan investigation of the factors which influenced credit and the degree to which it caused or reflected structural changes in the medieval English economy. The study covers periods of expending and contracting money supply, as well as the decades before and after the impact of the plague.

Information about credit transactions from three series of national records of debt has been recorded in a specifically designed database. The bulk of the records used consist of the chancery certificates in the Public Record Office. This is supplemented by an analysis of the pardons of outlawry for debt, and the gifts of goods and chattels, both of which are recorded in the printed calendars of the Patent and Close rolls.

The intention is to publish the findings and statistics in a series of articles and eventually in an extensive study of the medieval money market.


  • P. Nightlingale, ‘Knights and merchants: trade, politics and the gentry in late medieval England’, Past and Present 169 (2000), 36-62;
  • – ‘Money and credit in late medieval England’, in Medieval Money Matters, ed. Diana Wood, Oxbow Books (2004);
  • – ‘Some new evidence of crises and trends of mortality in late medieval England’, Past and Present 187 (2005), 33-68.

Prices in Medieval Scotland

Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council.
Director: Professor Nicholas Mayhew.
Research Assistant: Dr Elizabeth Gemmill.
Commenced: 1987.

This is a full-scale study of prices in medieval Scotland, c. 1260-1542, which includes detailed discussions of coinage, and weights and measures. Nearly 6,000 prices are listed individually, average prices are calculated for each commodity, and for groups of commodities such as cereals and livestock. Scots prices are compared with English, and the significance of the data for the economic history of medieval Scotland is analysed fully.


  • Elizabeth Gemmill and Nicholas Mayhew, Changing values in medieval Scotland: a study of prices, money, and weights and measures, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

The excavation coins from the two early campaigns (1906-1910; 1924-1928) of the British School at Athens

Sponsor: British Academy.
Director: Dr Julian Baker.
Commenced: 2005.

In excess of 4000 coins and related objects, spanning the entire spectrum from classical to modern Greek times, were unearthed at Sparta during the indicated campaigns. The aim of this project is the complete study and publication of this material.

Monetary life in Later Medieval Constantinople

Sponsor: British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.
Director: Dr Julian Baker.
Commenced: 2004.

This project is designed around the rich holdings of the Numismatic Collection of the Archaeological Museum, Istanbul and in collaboration with its curator T. Göky?ld?r?m. The primary focus is on the hoarded and stray material from within the city itself which dates to the Palaiologan period (1261-1453). It comprises Byzantine, western-style medieval, and Ottoman issues.


  • ‘Later medieval monetary life in Constantinople’, Anatolian Archaeology, 9, 2003, p. 35-36.

Sir John Evans and the Development of Archaeology in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust 2005- (for three years)
Directors: Dr Arthur MacGregor and Professor Nicholas Mayhew
Researchers: Dr Susanne Bangert, Dr Cathy King, and Alison Roberts.

The Ashmolean houses both the artefact collection and documentary archives of Sir John Evans (1823-1908), a pioneer figure in the fields of both prehistoric archaeology and of numismatics in Britain. From the numismatic point of view the project will focus on John Evans as a collector, and on his contribution to Iron Age, Roman, and English Medieval numismatics. John Evans provided the only authoritative works then available on Iron Age coins, or Ancient British coins as they were known. He also devised a classification for English Short Cross Coinage (1180-1247), which survived virtually unchallenged for half a century.