Canadian scientists probing the metal content of coins exchanged thousands of years ago have discovered a new way to map ancient trade patterns, to retrace economic ups and downs at the dawn of western civilization and even to shed new light on the collapse of the Roman Empire. Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton are using nuclear radiation to identify changes in metal content among ancient Greek and Roman coins held in a world-class collection amassed at the university since the 1940s. [Photograph by: McMaster University, Photo Handout]
Countries whose economies are under stress often debase their coinage - Nero in 58 AD, Johnson in 1965 AD, etc.
This is great as far as it goes but we don’t need 20 coin or 100 coin studies. In order to be statistically relevant we need thousands to be tested and compared.
I wonder if this technique could be used to identify fakes in major collections?