Scene details in Ancient Egyptian monuments: Oxford Expedition's electronic database and publications project (c.2960 - 2040 BC).

"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).

Principal investigator
Dr Yvonne Harpur
Principal project staff
Dr Yvonne Harpur
Start date
Saturday, March 1, 2003
Completion date
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Source material
"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).