WATCH: In the Lab with archaeology PhD, Nikki George

Nikki George is a PhD candidate in the University of Liverpool’s Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology.

We follow Nikki into the University’s new Professor Elizabeth Slater Archaeological Research Laboratories, where she is using a scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectroscopy to analyse the production of coin blanks and Roman silver coinage from AD193 – AD260.

Nikki discusses her research further below:

“The ancient metallurgical processes behind the creation of official Roman silver coinage produced at mints across the empire were all very much shrouded in mystery.

“Protecting the precise details of the minting practices was extremely important for the Roman state to disguise the changing silver contents of the coins and as a consequence very little is known about how the coins were fabricated.

“The main objective of my research is to confirm the process of Roman silver coin production and characterise how it changed over time. Around 50 silver coins dated between AD193-260, will be analysed. The chosen period is significant because there is a known shift in the manufacturing methods during this time.

“The scanning electron microscope with energy dispersive spectroscopy will be pivotal to the investigation, providing important information about the microstructural features and elemental composition of the coins, which are all a product of the original ancient procedures.”

To find out more, visit Nikki’s blog at:


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