Digitalization and Characterization of Ancient Coins

Digitalization and Characterization of Ancient Coins


Digitalization and characterization of the collections of Greek and Roman coins in the various Numismatic Collections at the FAU and providing them in an online database is an important step towards a Virtual Research Environment (VRE), providing input for the Semantic Web reacting to the demand of Open Linked Data.

3D laserscans provide the possibility to study these coins using non-destructive methods in order to trace the craftsmanship of ancient Greek and Roman metalworkers. Virtual sections of these coins provide information which cannot be collected otherwise without completely destroying these precious ancient artefacts.

In addition, a complete image composed by many single BSE (backscattered electron) images reveal possible exsolutions or alloy anomalies.

By mapping these BSE images onto the 3D model of the coin we achieve a unique insight and far more complete picture of these ancient masterpieces from a metallurgical point of view.


Dr. Martin Boß Kurator Antikensammlung Erlangen,

Prof. Dr.Ing. Marc Stamminger, Lehrstuhl der Informatik 9 (graphische Datenverarbeitung),

Prof. Dr. Matthias Göbbels, Lehrstuhl für Mineralogie,

Andreas Murgan M.A., Antikensammlung Erlangen

Dipl.-Ing. Christian Abe, Lehrstuhl für Mineralogie

Kooperationspartner am Forschungsprojekt „NUMiD – Geschichte prägen/Werte bewahren” des Institutes für Geschichtswissenschaft 3 der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf


Tetradrachme from Athens Collection Heerdegen Nr. 99 Detail of the 3-d image


Stater from Metapoint Collection Heerdegen No. 19 Virtual cut through the 3-d model


Denar of Gaius Julius Caesar Collection Heerdegen No. 282 A complete front-image by stitching of different singe BSE images