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A treasure in Roman coins

The world's largest haul of ancient coins has been restored and will be put on view to the public shortly.

The 108,000 Roman coins were found by chance in Libya in 1981 but were in such poor condition that it has been impossible to adequately restore them until recently.

Now Italy's Institute for Technologies Applied to Cultural Heritage (ITABC) has acquired the means to do it, using instruments such as the DPAA (Deep Proton Activation Analysis), a non-invasive analysing tool.

Datable to 294-33 AD, the coins have a rare mix of copper, tin and lead alloys with a touch of silver and a silver coating.

''It's the biggest haul of coins not only in the Roman world but probably throughout all antiquity,'' said ITABC's Salvatore Garraffo.

''The find stands out because it sheds new light on the economic history in Tripolitania (Roman North-East Africa) and the way currency circulated there in the first half of the fourth century, as well as on metallurgy and coin-making techniques in that period,'' he added. photo: Britain's biggest find of Roman silver denarii coins, in Somerset in 1999

by S. C.
17 july 2009, Food Notes > Miscellanea

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