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August 4, 2014 9:13 PM   Subscribe

The British Museum has published on its frequently informative blog a call for citizen archaeologists to help digitize its Bronze Age Index via a crowd-sourcing site called MicroPasts, which uses the open source PyBossa crowd-sourcing framework that also powers Crowdcrafting. The results will eventually be integrated with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (previously), which features a gigantic image database of finds categorized by period (e.g. Bronze Age or Medieval) and object type (e.g. coins or brooches).
posted by Monsieur Caution (4 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I hadn't heard of PyBossa or Crowdcrafting. Thanks.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:42 PM on August 4, 2014

1 - 20 of 408,519 records.

Holy crap. Just to quote one record:

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find waiting to be validated

An incomplete lead alloy unifaced token, of Medieval to Post Medieval dating (AD 1400 to AD 1800).

The token is sub circular in shape.The obverse depicts a central pellet, surrounded by a outer border divided into segments (Powell type 28/31). The reverse is plain and undecorated.

The token has a diameter of 18.2 mm, and is 3.4 mm thick. It weighs 5.4 g.

The token is a mid grey colour, with an even surface patina. Abrasion, caused by movement whilst within the plough soil, has resulted in a loss of most of the original surface detail.

Lead tokens are a frequently occurring find, with a variety of different designs. Tokens like this, were used as tallies or as replacement low denomination coinage during the Medieval and Post Medieval periods.

Subsequent actions:

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder.

Damn Monsieur Caution this is in the running for best use of the internet ever. Thanks.
posted by vapidave at 9:59 PM on August 4, 2014

167,874 coins. Wow.

What kind of blows my mind is that they are turning to the internet for a project that has been crowdsourced for over 100 years (it started in 1913).

Truly the best of the web.
posted by el io at 10:04 PM on August 4, 2014

What kind of blows my mind is that they are turning to the internet for a project that has been crowdsourced for over 100 years

And thanks to the Portable Antiquities Scheme many of the excavations themselves were crowdsourced in a way. The UK has really done a fabulous job getting average citizens excited not just about local archaeology, but about responsibly preserving finds and data in a way that hasn't happened in many countries. Of course, given the long imperialist history of archaeology, that's considerably easier to do when you've always been at the top of the imperialist food chain
posted by oinopaponton at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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