Gilded silver from ancient Nubia

Susanne Gänsicke and Richard Newman


This paper presents a systematic study of gilded silver and electrum objects from ancient Nubia in the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Most of the objects date from the 25th Dynasty and Napatan Period (app. 750-300 B.C.) to Meroitic times (app. 300 B.C.- 350 AD) and were excavated by the Harvard University MFA Expedition in the Sudan during the early part of this century. The collection thus forms an important body of provenanced ancient gilded silver. During this study more than forty objects were examined. A small number of gilded objects with non-silver substrates and pieces from other periods are included for comparison. The analytical techniques employed include reflected light microscopy, electron probe micro-analysis, and metallographic studies on cross sections. Non-destructive energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence was carried out on a few objects that could not be sampled. The results are discussed and evaluated for their historical implications.

1995 | St. Paul | Volume 3