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The Database
       Linacre College
   University of Oxford
Oxford Expedition to Egypt:  
Scene Details Database 
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(Phase One) 


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 July 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.


Framework of the database

The OEE Scene-details 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. 

Entering the database

Most readers will agree that direct use of a database is the best way to discover how it works, and to fully appreciate its scope and value. Therefore, you are cordially invited by the OEE database team to click the entry button, acknowledge the requests of our host, the ADS, and use our resource free of charge for your work.

Click Here to enter the database
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