The Pondera Online Project aims to collect and study ancient and medieval weights that were produced between the mid-sixth century BCE and the mid-fifteen century CE. Nowadays, more than 20,000 weights dating from these two millennia are registered, half of them from public and private collections, half of them from archaeological excavations—but many weights remain unpublished.
No attempt for a global corpus of ancient weights has been made since the end of the 19th century. The available publications are either based on museum collections or archaeological sites; a few weights were also published in epigraphical corpuses. In most cases, the descriptions of weights are more or less accurate, but rarely complete; photographs are often not available.
Dispersed objects, disparate information and imprecise data together constitute a major obstacle to a comprehensive approach. Therefore, the Pondera Online Project is intended to fill a gap in the collection, standardization, and processing of these archaeological data, thanks to the creation of an open access database.
Initially, the Pondera Online Database only aimed to record ancient Greek weights, but it quickly appeared that such a tool should also include Roman, Late Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic weights. This was only made possible through the integration of almost 7,500 weights collected by Dr. Bendeguz Tobias in the framework of a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) at the University of Innsbruck (2013–2016). This generous collaboration was also the starting point for building the international network of scholars who are now contributing to the Pondera Online Project.
The Pondera Online Project was initiated by Pr. Charles Doyen, Research Associate at the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.–FNRS). The project has been funded for four years (2016–2019) by the F.R.S.–FNRS, and the website is hosted by the University of Louvain (Belgium).
Contact and more information: charles.doyen [at] uclouvain.be
FWF P 25514-G19: “Late Antique and Byzantine Weights in the Mediterranean Area.” (2013–2016)
FNRS MIS F.4530.16: “Pondera Online. Ancient Metrology and Digital Humanities.” (2016–2018)
UCL FSR 2017: “Ancient Weights from Athens.” (2017–2019)
FNRS CDR J.0041.18: “Ancient and Byzantine Weights: New Research, New Corpuses.” (2018–2019)