, Volume 257, Issue 2, pp 375-383

Micro-PIXE study of gold archaeological objects

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Abstract

Several fragments of ancient gold objects coming from an Eneolithic hoard and from Pietroasa ‘Cloşca cu Puii de Aur’ (‘The Golden Brood Hen with Its Chickens’) hoard, unearthed on Romanian territory, and two Romanian native gold nuggets samples were analyzed using micro-PIXE technique. The purpose of the study was to clarify the metal provenance. Trace and minor elements (Cu, Te, Sn, Pb, Ti, Cr, V, Mn, Ta) and platinum group elements (PGE) concentrations were estimated. The presence of inclusions (micrometer size areas of composition different from the surroundings) was investigated. We found Si and Ca inclusions on two Eneolithic samples, and Ta inclusions on two samples from Pietroasa hoard. The measurements suggested an alluvial origin of gold for the Eneolithic samples and give indications for the possible gold ore sources of Pietroasa hoard.