Author Topic: Coinage metal of Kashmir  (Read 96 times)

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Offline Andromeda

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Coinage metal of Kashmir
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:52:18 AM »
How can we extrapolate the sources of the coinage metals from the presence of trace elements? Is it possible to determine/locate the mines/ores by performing XRF techniques on coins? This is particularly in the context of copper coins of the early medieval period of Kashmir. The trace elements in Kashmir's early medieval coppers were chiefly tin, lead, zinc, iron and silver. Could the copious copper coinage of Kashmir, especially the Toramanas, be used as trade currency since they are also found in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Pakistan. It would be interesting to know if the coinage metals of the Toramana and later Hindu kings of Kashmir were derived in trade and/or locally mined. It'll be interesting to understand if collectors and scholars tread on this particular pathway of research.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Coinage metal of Kashmir
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 11:45:25 AM »
Good question, but as usual, there are no easy answers.

In principle, trace elements provide a "signature" of the field the metal is coming from. In practice, the raw material from coins came from a number of sources, not just mines. Two major outside sources are old coins and war loot. While old coins may have been made from the same metal as current coins, war loot by its nature came from farther afield. Another source, merchants, may have brought in coins from even farther away, as Kashmir sat on trade routes connecting China to Venice.

XRF is a very useful technique for numismatists, but it has come about only recently. For more information on metal analysis look here. What science needs now to make progress is published analysis of the greatest possible gobs of coins from diverse sources. These data bases can be used to determine the typical composition of a type of coin and outlying compositions. In turn, that will open avenues to information on public finance, the influence of conquest, trade routes and possibly a rough idea of inflation.

There is an obvious relation between the amount of analysis that can be done and the price of non-destructive analytical equipment. As demand for the latter increases, the price ought to come down. Meanwhile, the more data becomes available, the higher the pressure on other research institutes to have the equipment also.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline asm

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Re: Coinage metal of Kashmir
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 02:09:43 PM »
Another very important point to be kept in mind id that one should have the analysis of the ore found from the possible mining sources to be able to check and compare. FOr this, one must be able to trace the possible mines in the area and then be able to reach them.

"It Is Better To Light A Candle Than To Curse The Darkness"