Athenian Tetradrachms from Tel Mikhal (Israel): A Metallurgical Perspective

Haim Gitler, Matthew Ponting, Oren Tal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper uses the analytical results from inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and lead isotope analysis (Q-ICP-MS) of a group of Athenian-style tetradrachms found in the excavations of Tel Michal to investigate their origins. The majority of these coins are thought to be Eastern imitations based on style, but the analysis suggests that all these coins may actually be authentic Athenian issues. This is because they were clearly produced from bullion that came from the silver mines of Laurion in Attica. Given the stylistic variability of the Athenian tetradrachms from Tel Michal, we can assume that they are representative of the 'owls' that were circulated in Achaemenid Palestine. Therefore, although it would be premature to argue that the term Eastern imitation is an erroneous scholarly convention, this paper demonstrates that it is a clear possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-49
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Journal of Numismatics (1989-)
StatePublished - 2009


  • Physical sciences -- Chemistry -- Chemical elements
  • Physical sciences -- Physics -- Microphysics
  • Economics -- Macroeconomics -- Money
  • Applied sciences -- Materials science -- Materials
  • Linguistics -- Language -- Orthographies
  • Business -- Industry -- Industrial sectors
  • Behavioral sciences -- Leisure studies -- Recreation


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