Copper Alloy Coins from the Byzantine-Period Ma‘agan Mikhael B Shipwreck, Israel: Metallurgical Characterization

M. Cohen, D. Ashkenazi, G. I. Bijovsky, A. Inberg, S. Klein, D. Cvikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

After three excavation seasons the Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck has revealed, among other objects, seven coins. The coins were found covered with a black concretion layer, which was carefully removed from five of them. Metallurgical methods were used in order to reveal the composition, microstructure, and manufacturing process of the coins and to determine their date and the origin of the raw material. The coins were made of cast copper-lead alloy and were heated before being stamped. Based on the portrait of the House of Constantine I found on coins 120.1 and 120.2, and the figure on coin 120.5, combined with the composition of the coins, they were dated to the fourth century AD, when high concentrations of lead were added to alloys, most probably due to economic constraints. The study of the coins does not identify the ship’s origin or her ports-of-call, since coins were essentially mobile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-560
Number of pages19
JournalMetallography, Microstructure, and Analysis
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Coins
  • Composition
  • Copper-lead alloy
  • Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck
  • Microstructure

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