Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Briefly: two books and a new resource

I am in the Thomas J. Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a very pleasant place to work and recommended for archaeologists visiting NYC. They have very strong holdings in Roman pottery.

I've paged and am using A. Camilli. 1999. Ampullae : balsamari ceramici di età ellenistica e romana [worldcat]. That's Italian for "Unguentaria", the common small ceramic bottles/flasks found in many contexts on Mediterranean sites. I stress this because the book is not about Early Christian/Late Roman ampullae associated with pilgrimage. If you're working with unguentaria, you want this book.

Next up is M. Berndt. 2003. Funde aus dem Survey auf der Halbinsel von Milet : (1992 - 1999) : kaiserzeitliche und frühbyzantinische Keramik [worldcat]. This is a very useful catalog for the period it covers. A noteworthy feature is that the 172 plates are on a CD in the back. Putting a CD in the back of a book is an inane long-term solution so I want to go on record here as saying "Don't do it!". And if you do, "Dont use PDF!". But it wouldn't be entirely straightforward of me not to admit that I have the plates on my hard-drive. In the short term, yes, this information is useful. But who is going to have CD readers 20 years from now? Not many of us. And the text isn't available in digital form so here I am checking a few things.

Finally, the American Numismatic Society has initiated a project to establish stable URIs for numismatic concepts and entities. It's at Take a look but be gentle since it's all in early stages.


John Muccigrosso said...
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Cultural Property Observer said...

Hi Sebastian- Keep up the good work on databases and coins.

Although your blog is about ceramics, perhaps sometime you could post a fuller explanation for layman what you are doing.

I would personally love to see a publically accessible database that can be used to input coins not only from archaeological sites, but also from museums and even private collections. That could give us a better picture of what exactly is out there than I think we have at this time.

Incidentally, I hope you will try to avoid the pitfalls of the database project taking place at the Egyptian Museum as described in Sharon Waxman't new book, "Loot."

Best regards,

Peter Tompa