Roman coins at the edge of the Negev: characterisation of copper alloy artefacts and soil from Rakafot 54 (Beer Sheva, Israel)

Manuel J.H. Peters*, Yuval Goren, Peter Fabian, José Mirão, Carlo Bottaini, Sabrina Grassini, Emma Angelini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The research presented in this paper focused on the preliminary non- and semi-destructive analysis of copper alloys, corrosion, and soil components from a Roman archaeological site in Israel. Investigations using portable X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy as well as micromorphological analyses were carried out to gain a better understanding of the corrosion processes affecting the copper alloy artefacts, by characterising the alloy composition, soil environments, and corrosion products. Preliminary results indicate that the artefacts consist of copper-lead-tin alloys, covered by copper hydroxy-chlorides and lead sulphate phases with slight variations in their crystallisation. The multi-analytical approach revealed the presence of quartz, calcite, gypsum and feldspars in the sediments, while thin sections more specifically indicate loess soils with local micro-environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1285
Number of pages6
JournalActa IMEKO
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Roxana Golan for her work with the SEM, and Mafalda Costa and Dulce Valdez for their assistance in the interpretation of the diffractograms. The research presented in this paper was part of a doctoral dissertation [12], carried out mainly using data collected at Politecnico di Torino, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Universidade de Évora, as part of H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017, ED-ARCHMAT (ESR7). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 766311.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO). All rights reserved.


  • archaeological materials science
  • archaeometallurgy
  • Archaeometry
  • classical archaeology
  • Near Eastern archaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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