Scene details in Ancient Egyptian monuments: Oxford Expedition's electronic database and publications project (c.2960 - 2040 BC).
Grant Holder: Dr Yvonne Harpur
"The resource known as the Linacre College Oxford Expedition: Scene-details Database was envisaged by its author in the early 1980s - but the opportunity to devise the initial framework and content of a database, and to undertake the academic and technical work necessary for its publication online, did not present itself until much later, in 2003. During that year the Expedition was fortunate enough to receive a substantial award from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, specifically to create the Phase One database by 2006 and to link this resource with a new series of books devoted to the photography and analysis of hundreds of scene details in Old Kingdom monuments, i.e. the Expedition's 'Egypt in Miniature' series. In order to ensure the longevity of the proposed resource our database team collaborated closely with highly skilled colleagues from the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), based at the University of York, part of whose responsibility is to store and maintain digital materials produced at universities throughout the UK. Thanks to their expertise the completed OEE database was transformed into a web-readable format, and placed online in October 2007 for free international use.
Most databases are ever-developing resources, and in this regard our Scene-details Database is no exception - which accounts for those two important words, 'Phase One'. So rich and wide-ranging is the source material of Old Kingdom date that scope remains for enormous expansion of the database's content. Likewise - theoretically at least - the framework of the database could be extended chronologically to include similar data from later periods of Egyptian history, spanning well over 1,000 years, though an undertaking of this magnitude would be better tackled by other scholars, perhaps as manageable units of work in databases similar to our own" (from project web site; see for more details).
|Project start date: 2003-03||Project end date: 2007-08|
|2d Scanning and photography||Data capture|
|Data modelling||Data structuring and enhancement|
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Content types created:
Dataset/structured data, Still Image/Graphics, Text
Source material used:
"During the first half of the Twentieth Century two learned women based at the Griffith Institute in Oxford devised an economical yet effective filing system, so that information concerning antiquities from Ancient Egypt could be recorded on cards and categorized systematically in preparation for a bibliographical series. Patient research enabled Bertha Porter and Rosalind Moss to transform their earliest files into a comprehensive reference book and, with its launch worldwide, the series they envisaged was truly within their grasp. The title of this series was the Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings, often shortened by Egyptologists to Top. Bib., Porter and Moss or simply PM, in recognition of its co-founders. After the death of Bertha Porter, the production of PM volumes was continued by Dr Moss and her staff until the management of the project was assumed by Dr Jaromir Malek in the 1970s. Thereafter, the series was enhanced by the addition of wide-ranging appendices, and from the 1990s, with the rapid advances in digital and computer technology, Jaromir Malek's responsibilities expanded even further as he endeavoured to steer the series as smoothly as possible into the digital era" (see ADS database web site for more details).
Digital resource created:
"The database is easy to use, due to the simplicity of its basic 'pyramid-like' structure. At the top of the imaginary pyramid are the Themes (i.e. the broad categories into which the known scene types of Old Kingdom date most suitably fit). Part-way down the imaginary pyramid are the Scene types themselves (each of the scene types deriving from one of the themes above). Then, nearer the base of the imaginary pyramid are the Scene details (i.e. clusters of small features, each cluster associated with a specific scene type immediately above). By way of clarification, here is a practical example of the structure: One of the Themes in the database is entitled 'Workshop activities'. One of the Scene types belonging to this theme is the 'Jewellery-making scene'. And one of the Scene details belonging to this scene type is 'Dwarfs making jewellery'. From this basic structure the user can access archaeological, bibliographical, chronological, and geographical information about scores of Old Kingdom scenes and scene details throughout Egypt, then use this data to answer queries, or to aid varying types of research" (see project web site for more details).
Access to digital resource:
Data Formats created:
Graphics interchange format file (GIF)
Institutions affiliated with this project:
|UK HE institutions involved:|
|University of Oxford|
|UK HE institutions involved:|
|University of Oxford|
Project staff and expertise:
|Principal staff member:||Dr Yvonne Harpur|
|Other staff:||Computing officer(s) / Technical supporter(s), Postdoctoral researcher(s) / Research assistant(s)|
|Metadata on this arts-humanities.net record|
|Author(s) of record||Yvonne Harpur (Dr)|
|Title||Scene details in Ancient Egyptian monuments: Oxford Expedition's electronic database and publications project (c.2960 - 2040 BC).|
|Record updated||2010-06-28 20:10|
|URL of record||http://www.arts-humanities.net/node/2199|
|Citation of record||Yvonne Harpur (Dr): Scene details in Ancient Egyptian monuments: Oxford Expedition's electronic database and publications project (c.2960 - 2040 BC)..|
created: 2007-10-23, last updated 2010-06-28 20:10