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Trace element analysis of Alexander the Great’s silver tetradrachms minted in Macedonia

Kallithrakas-Kontos Nikolaos, Katsanos Anastasios, Touratsoglou, Giannēs, 1940-

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Year 2000
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation N. Kallithrakas-Kontos, A.A. Katsanos and J. Touratsoglou, "Trace element analysis of Alexander the Great’s silver tetradrachms minted in Macedonia," Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res., Sect. B, vol. 171, no. 3, pp. 342–349, Nov. 2002. doi: 10.1016/S0168-583X(00)00268-8
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The coinage of Alexander the Great presents a special interest because of its international character in the frame of the ancient times. At least 31 mints (from Aigai to Babylon and from Pella to Alexandreia) operated in the vast state, which was created by Alexander in just over 10 years (334–323 BC). Impressive quantities of tetradrachms were consequently minted for the economic affairs of an expanding state. The mints continued to be active and after the premature death of the Macedonian king, producing among others and tetradrachms in his name. The elemental chemical composition of silver tetradrachms minted in Amphipolis as well as in other Macedonian Greek cities was analysed by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF), and 12 elements were determined. The problem of the patina (silver corrosion layer) effects on the results was examined by analysis before and after the corrosion product removal. From the results of the chemical composition, a similar numismatic policy is deduced for all the analysed coin as well as metal provenance indications for some of the coins.