Monday, 6 April 2009

BANS Congress 2009, Scarborough

I’ve just returned from the British Association of Numismatic Societies (BANS) Spring Congress at the coastal town of Scarborough. I hadn’t been to one of these events for ten years, nor a local society meeting for about two and I now know why.

The weekend started off promisingly enough with a lively presentation on coins used for dating in archaeological contexts, marred only by a pedantic correction of Valens' regnal years from the audience.

The presentations on the following two days were mixed. The high points included a very good presentation on the numismatic aspects on three naval battles, Actium, Lepanto and the Nile, the quality to be expected not least because the lecturer was also engaged in giving similar talks on cruise ships sailing around the Med. Similarly I gained something from lectures on the Ostrogoths, Northumbrian sceattas and the pennies of Stephen and the anarchy.

Other presentations left something to be desired. A potentially interesting talk on the bust types of Ellizabethan shillings would have benefited from a more up-beat delivery combined with a handout of the comparative types with characteristics and their periods of use, rather than just scrolling through slide after slide of the coins.

The nadir came with a presentation on evidence of self identity on early Roman imperial coins. The images on the slides were small and very difficult to make out, even sitting at the front and would have greatly benefited from being a Powerpoint presentation rather than being done on 2x2 slides.

A final plea, if Powerpoint had been the method of delivery a permanent CD of the talks could have been distributed among the seventy delegates as a permanent reminder of the proceedings.