Bronze Roman Coins – An X-Ray Microanalysis

Carle, Mitchell (2007). Bronze Roman Coins – An X-Ray Microanalysis B.Sc Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Carle, Mitchell
Thesis Title Bronze Roman Coins – An X-Ray Microanalysis
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Graeme Auchterlonie
Kim Sewell
Total pages 60
Language eng
Subjects 0904 Chemical Engineering
091405 Mining Engineering
Formatted abstract
Constantine I led an impressive and lengthy reign from 306 - 337 A.D, which produced large empire expansion and the erection of multiple mining and minting sites outside the capital. Metallurgical studies indicate mining sites have unique chemical signatures according to their location. This dissertation primarily creates an experimental procedure to identify the chemical compositions of a suite of bronze Constantine I coins. Coins of similar chemical composition are identified, grouped and matched to the unique mining signature. This thesis is significant because it allows insight into the trace movements of coins in this era. The key assumption to achieve this is that the mixing quantities of each element are directly proportional to the mining site.

The experimental procedure requires background knowledge pertaining to a Scanning Electron Microscope and the equipped Electron Dispersive Spectrometer which allows x-ray analysis through counting energy signatures created from excited electrons jumping shells in an atom. Ideal variables of the SEM functions are found to be 30kV accelerating voltage, spot size 70nm and backscatter mode which results in counting 60,000 energy signatures per second.

The results of the individual coins show that coins 167, 174, 179 and 301 each have signatures different to any other coin. Graphing the key elements show trend lines dictating mixing ratios which allow similar coins to be grouped. From 16 coins, four are paired in their similarities. These are matched to the mining sites of their origin, but the lack of sample size allows for inconclusive results about socio-economic trade routes. The accuracy of matching the coins validates the necessity for further research in this field. Subsequent theses will result in insightful conclusions.
Keyword Micro analysis

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Mon, 08 Sep 2014, 13:38:29 EST by Ahmed Taha Siddiqui on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service