Corrosion products and microstructure of copper alloy coins from the Byzantine-period Ma'agan Mikhael B shipwreck, Israel

A. Inberg, D. Ashkenazi, M. Cohen, N. Iddan, D. Cvikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seven coins, covered with black concretion coating, found in the Byzantine-period Ma'agan Mikhael B shipwreck, were examined in this study. Metallurgical methods comprising visual testing, XRF, multi-focal light microscopy, SEM-EDS analysis and Raman spectroscopy, were used to determine the corrosion products and microstructure of the coins. The analysis results show that the coins were made of copper-lead alloy with a heterogeneous microstructure of bright and dark metal areas. The external surfaces of the coins were mostly composed of oxides and corrosion product compounds rich in Cu, Pb and Sn, while the external dark concretion coating was rich in Si, S, Ca and C compounds. Gradual variation of the composition and structure of the oxides and concretion coating layers was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-409
Number of pages10
JournalMicrochemical Journal
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The underwater excavations (IAA permits G-41/2016 and G-40/2017) and research of the Ma'agan Mikhael B shipwreck are supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1891/16 ), the Honor Frost Foundation , a Dov Shafir Fellowship, a Natan Rotenstreich Scholarship, a Sir Maurice Hatter Fellowship, the President and Research Authority of the University of Haifa, and anonymous donors, to whom the authors are grateful. The authors are grateful to T. Mukra of the Wolfson Applied Materials Research Center, Tel Aviv University, for his SEM technical assistance; to E. Gerstl of the Noar Shocher Mada Unit, Tel Aviv University, for his contribution; and to J. B. Tresman for the English editing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Black concretion
  • Copper-lead coins
  • Corrosion products
  • Ma'agan Mikhael B shipwreck
  • Materials characterization
  • Microstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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