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Journal Article

Combining synchrotron radiation techniques for the analysis of gold coins from the Roman Empire


Zeller,  Patrick
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Carlomagno, I., Zeller, P., Amati, M., Aquilanti, G., Prenesti, E., Marussi, G., et al. (2022). Combining synchrotron radiation techniques for the analysis of gold coins from the Roman Empire. Scientific Reports, 12(1): 15919. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-19682-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-41AB-B
Four gold coins minted in the V century have been studied with non-destructive synchrotron radiation techniques, namely X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES). XRF data analyzed coupling standard and statistical methods were used to distinguish the composition of the alloy constituting the coins from that of successive deposits processes. Our analysis presents a quantification of the trace elements present in the metallic alloy providing interesting details for historical insight. Furthermore, on the basis of the XRF maps, some regions of interest were selected for XANES at the K-edge of Fe. Our analysis of the Fe spectra points out two main phases which can be related to Fe oxides naturally present in soil. From the relative abundance of these oxides, information on the site where the coins were found can be obtained, providing additional information on their fate across the centuries.