Bubbles in the bullion: micro-CT imaging of the internal structure of ancient coins

August 05, 2019

Lisa L Van Loon (1,2,3), Andrew J. Nelson (2), Ute Wartenberg Kagan (4), Keith Barron (4,5), Neil R. Banerjee (3)

Microscopy and Microanalysis, 25, Supplement S2, 2019:420-421. DOI: 10.1017/S1431927619002836


The earliest coins known to mankind were made of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver, in Western Turkey in the middle of the 7th century BCE, within the geographical and political context of the Lydian Empire. The invention of coinage created new economic patterns and behaviours in the ancient world, which remain fundamentally in place today. Such Lydian and other coins are irregularly shaped but approximately circular. Interestingly, they adhere strictly to a set of weight standards and have weights ranging from ~17 g to ~0.05g. Many of the coins have designs on the obverse and more simple punches on the reverse. The coin discussed in this paper is part the most famous series, the so-called "Phanes" coinage, which shows a grazing stag on the obverse.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used for the general visualization of CT coins images.

Author Affiliation

(1) LISA CAN Analytical Solutions Inc., Saskatoon, SK, Canada
(2) Department of Anthropology, Western University, London, ON, Canada
(3) Department of Earth Sciences, Western University, London, ON, Canada
(4) American Numismatic Society, New York, NY, USA
(5) Aurania Resources, Ltd., Toronto, ON, Canada