This paper presents a new non-destructive sampling method for the lead isotope analysis of lead objects using acidified cotton swabs. The results are indistinguishable within error margin from conventional sampling methods. This method was applied to a series of Sasanian lead coins from the Royal Museums of Art and History as well as a private collection. Elemental analysis was performed using micro-X-ray fluorescence. Isotopic analysis was performed using multi collector-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Lead isotope analysis showed that at least four distinct sources of lead were used over time by the Sasanians to produce coins. Elemental analysis revealed three compositional groups distinct from the isotope groups, showing that a change in composition did not necessarily follow a change in raw materials supply. The uniformity of isotope compositions within particular periods, and of chemical composition across different mints, may point to a central control of both raw material supply and composition of Sasanian lead coins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3375-3388
Number of pages15
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number7
Early online dateDec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

    Research areas

  • Lead provenance, MC-ICP-MS, Pb isotopes, Sasanian coins, μXRF

ID: 42575579