Journal Highlight: Enhancing understanding of the emergence of global trade: Analysis of 17th‐ to 19th‐Century Spanish coins recovered from Western Australian shipwrecks using LA–ICP–MS

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  • Published: Jan 10, 2019
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
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thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Enhancing understanding of the emergence of global trade: Analysis of 17th‐ to 19th‐Century Spanish coins recovered from Western Australian shipwrecks using LA–ICP–MS

The trace element fingerprints of 389 silver coins recovered from shipwrecks and held by the Western Australian Museum have been analysed by LA–ICP–MS to sort them into identifiable subgroups to further our understanding of global silver movement in the 17th to 19th centuries.

Enhancing understanding of the emergence of global trade: Analysis of 17th‐ to 19th‐Century Spanish coins recovered from Western Australian shipwrecks using laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA–ICP–MS)

Archaeometry, 2018, online
L. Gentelli

Abstract: This research uses legacy data from shipwrecks to further our understanding of global silver movement in the 17th to 19th centuries by analysing a collection of silver coins held by the Western Australian Museum. Three hundred and eighty‐nine silver coins were analysed for their trace element fingerprint in order to identify provenance. The coins are a selection from the ships Batavia, Vergulde Draeck, Zuytdorp, Rapid and Correio da Azia, all wrecked off the coast of Western Australia between 1629 and 1816. Analysis was undertaken using laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA–ICP–MS), a relatively non‐destructive technique with a sensitivity of parts per million to parts per billion. Data were interpreted using linear discriminant analysis (LDA), which allowed the coins of known provenance to be sorted into identifiable subgroups on the basis of their trace and minor elemental fingerprints, while 27 unidentified coins were compared with this database and their mint of origin predicted. These results have implications for the provenance determination of archaeological artefacts of many materials.

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