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Optica Publishing Group
  • Applied Spectroscopy
  • Vol. 64,
  • Issue 4,
  • pp. 384-390
  • (2010)

Chemical Attribution of Corroded Coins Using X-ray Fluorescence and Lead Isotope Ratios: A Case Study from First Century Judaea

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Nondestructive analyses using a quadrupole inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometer (ICP-QMS) and polarizing, multi-target, energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (PEDXRF) with three-dimensional optics were conducted on Judean coins from the first century BCE and CE to determine the efficacy and limits of these methods for numismatic analyses of coins with a patina. Comparisons with destructive analyses and literature databases demonstrate their value even when corrosion is present. An outstanding question about the dating of Herod Agrippa I or II “canopy” coins that has significance to Biblical historians is used as a case study. Multiple lines of evidence attribute this coin to Agrippa I, with a date of 41 to 45 CE, produced using Faynan (Feinan), Jordan, and Cyprus ores.

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