Nuclear Methods and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry: how can these methods contribute to the study of ancient coinages?
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|Excerpt||The Centre Ernest-Babelon developed and applied two different nuclear methods using a cyclotron for numismatic studies: Proton Activation Analysis (PAA) and Fast Neutron Activation Analysis (FNAA). At the beginning of the 1970s PAA was developed to study ancient gold coinage and in the 1980s FNAA was improved to determine non-destructively the contents of the major, minor and trace elements in silver and copper alloys coins. These two nuclear methods were successfully used to study numismatic and historical issues covering all periods and geographical areas. But they present some drawbacks. Therefore a complementary method was recently developed for the non-destructive analysis of archaeological gold and silver artefacts: Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Basic quantitative analysis and depth profile analysis are performed. Comparison between these different methods are established. The capabilities of these methods are illustrated with numismatic examples: the provenance study of the Kushan minted gold, the Carolingian silver coinage, the identification of some bronze coins from the hoard of Olbia.|
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