Eljas Oksanen (University of Helsinki) and Michael Lewis (British Museum) have recently published an article in the Antiquaries Journal, which analyses the medieval finds data in the PAS database for information about long-term large-scale economic developments in England. The article showcases the potential of Digital Humanities methodologies when applied to public finds databases (like those which are part of the EPFRN) to reveal new information about the medieval past at different spatial scales ranging from the national to the level of local communities.
An electronic version of the article can be access through the journal website at Cambridge Core , and a print copy of the journal will be available later in 2020. The abstract reads:
This paper explores some 220,000 medieval objects recorded in the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) online database of archaeological small finds through Geographic Information System analysis of their relationship with contemporary market sites. First, an overview of the contents of the PAS database is presented in terms of its spatial and ‘object type’ distribution. Second, the relationship of the medieval finds data against documentary evidence of commercial activity is investigated at a national level. Finally, PAS data is contextualised in its historical landscape context through case studies. It is argued that the distribution of PAS finds on the national scale can be linked with patterns of commercial activity, and that while rural and urban finds scatters have distinguishing trends, the countryside population enjoyed access to a range of sophisticated metalwork culture; also, that certain assemblages can be analysed statistically to yield new data and perspectives on local historical development.
Citation information: Oksanen, E., & Lewis, M. (2020). Medieval commercial sites: as seen through portable antiquities scheme data. The Antiquaries Journal, 1-32. doi:10.1017/S0003581520000165