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The focus in this field is directed to basic investigations about isotopic ratio measurements for provenancing of historical objects as well as to an extensive collaborative work with several museums and the State conservation office in Lower Saxony.

For several elements of the periodic system varying isotope ratios are generated by physical and chemical effects during ore formation, but also during manufacturing processes used for extraction of elements from the ores. Under certain conditions conclusions about the ore sources or the technological processes used in the manufacturing process could be drawn, in case isotope ratios could be determined as precise as possible and sources for isotope variation are investigated properly. In our group systematic investigations have been performed for the isotope systems of lead, osmium and tin, which play an important role as metal sources for many historical metallic objects.

Pearl strand from an excavation in 2009 on Tall Zirā’a, Jordan (Foto: HTW Berlin)
Image and map of elemental distribution (µ-XRF) for a pearl from Tall Zirā’a (blue glass: cobalt, white stripes: white lead and tin) (Fotos: HTW Berlin, elementals map: Schulze)

In colaborative work with museums in Germany and Europe as well with the State conservation office in Lower Saxony several different topics were investigated, among them

  • Determination of causation at historical dies for medals
  • Determination of influences on the storage of historical bog bodies in the bog
  • Context between composition of alloys, coinage and mint for historical coins
  • Origin of glass beads from excavations in the Holly Land
  • Determination of pigment in paintings of dubious origin or dating
  • Identification of historical restauration measures at medieval art objects (e.g. Cathedral treasury of Hildesheim)
  • Influence of surface structure and corrosion effects on quantification of the composition of historical metallic objects, measured by X-ray fluorescence analysis
Cluster analysis for 124 glass beads from the Allard Pearson Museum in Amsterdam (22 elements: P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, Sn, Sb, Pb, Co, Rb, Sr, Zr, no weighting, cluster method: sum of squares). The beads have been manufactured in Venice (V: 23 Perlen) or Amsterdam (A: 101 Perlen). The cluster analysis allows in this case without further mathematical options to discriminate between both manufacturing sites (Schulze 2012).


  • J. Cui, Charakterisierung historischer Prägestempel mit oberflächen- und volumensensitiven analytischen Verfahren, Dissertation, 2010, Universität Hannover
  • R. Lehmann, Archäometallurgie von mittelalterlichen deutschen Silberbarren und Münzen , Dissertation, 2011, Universität Hannover
  • J. Tan, Materialanalytik an mittelalterlichen Silbermünzen, Masterarbeit, 2011, Universität Hannover
  • M. Krüger, Beiträge zur präzisen Bestimmung von Os-Isotopenverhältnissen, Dissertation, 2014, Universität Hannover
  • M. Schulze, Beiträge zur Provenienzanalytik an archäologischen Objekten aus dem Nahen Osten mittels Isotopenverhältnismessungen, Masterarbeit, 2014, Universität Hannover
  • D. Motz, Beiträge zur präzisen Osmium-Isotopenverhältnismessung mit Festkörperspektroskopie und nasschemischen Analysenverfahren, Masterarbeit, 2014, Universität Hannover
  • M. Ziegerick, Beiträge zur Bestimmung von Zinn-Isotopenverhältnissen in Kassiterit, Masterarbeit, 2016, Universität Hannover
  • M. Schulze, M. Ziegerick, I. Horn, S. Weyer, C. Vogt, Determination of tin isotope ratios in cassiterite by femtosecond laser ablation multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Spectrochim. Acta B  (2017)
  • D. Fellenger, Archäometallurgische Forschungen zum mittelalterlichen Niedersachsen, Dissertation, 2017, Universität Hannover

Cooperation partners

  • Dr. H. Haßmann, Dr. A. Bauerochse, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Niedersachsen
  • Prof. D. Vieweger, Universität Wuppertal sowie Deutsches Evangelisches Institut für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes Jerusalem
  • Erich Kästner Museum Hannover
  • Dommuseum Hildesheim
  • Bergbaumuseum Bochum
  • Allard Pearson Museum in Amsterdam