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Issue 5, 2011
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A study on gold and copper provenance for Romanian prehistoric objects using micro-SR XRF

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Abstract

This study intends to clarify the metal provenance of gold archaeological items using the variation of the Au–Ag ratio and the presence of trace elements as Sn, Sb, Te, and Pb, concentrating on gold Dacian Koson coins, recovered recently. It also extends the area of our investigations to the copper provenance of Bronze Age artifacts—axes, sickles, and celts—found on Romanian territory. The experiments were performed by micro-SR XRF at BESSY Berlin, at the BAM-line facility. Two types of coins (Koson, with and without monogram) were analysed. The conclusions we reached were that most of the monogram coins are made from refined gold (3–5% Ag, less than 0.5% Cu), while the without monogram coins are made from native Transylvanian gold (9–20% Ag, 0.5–2% Cu), of alluvial origin, proved by the presence of Sn, Sb and Te embedded in the gold. The problem of provenance for prehistoric Romanian copper and bronze objects consists in linking their elemental compositional patterns to the ones of the Bronze Age regional mines from Bulgaria, Serbia or Transylvania, most likely used as ore sources for their manufacture. The studied samples present relevant traces of As, Ag, Sb, and Co, suggesting the most probable use of copper from Serbia or northern Bulgaria for their manufacture.

Graphical abstract: A study on gold and copper provenance for Romanian prehistoric objects using micro-SR XRF

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Nov 2010, accepted on 04 Jan 2011 and first published on 01 Feb 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0JA00215A
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2011,26, 917-921

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    A study on gold and copper provenance for Romanian prehistoric objects using micro-SR XRF

    B. Constantinescu, A. Vasilescu, M. Radtke and U. Reinholz, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2011, 26, 917
    DOI: 10.1039/C0JA00215A

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