Table of Contents
Journal of Archaeology
Volume 2014, Article ID 171243, 12 pages
Research Article

Nondestructive Analysis of Silver Coins Minted in Taras (South Italy) between the V and the III Centuries BC

1Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche e Ambientali, Università del Salento, Via Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Università del Salento, Via Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
3Dipartimento di Beni Culturali, Università del Salento, Via D. Birago No. 64, 73100 Lecce, Italy
4Dipartimento di Lettere e Beni Culturali (DiLBEC), Seconda Università di Napoli, Santa Maria Capua Vetere, 81055 Caserta, Italy

Received 24 October 2013; Accepted 18 May 2014; Published 16 June 2014

Academic Editor: Yue-Xing Feng

Copyright © 2014 Alessandro Buccolieri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work enters in an interdisciplinary research project involving the archaeometrical analysis of ancient silver coins minted in the Greek colony of Taras (the modern south Italian town of Taranto) between the V century BC and the III century BC. In this work, by comparing the results obtained from X-ray microanalysis data acquired from the least corroded surface areas and the cross-section of coins from SEM-EDX and from XRF analysis, we have demonstrated that analysed coins exhibited a corrosion layer no more than 25 μm and that surface silver enrichment was less than 1 wt%. Thus, the data obtained by using X-ray microanalysis from surface may not significantly differ from the original bulk composition. Our results demonstrate that the silver content in the coins decreases considerably ranging from about 97% for the older down to 80% for the ones of 3rd Evans period (300–270 BC), corresponding to the significant social change in the period.