Archeology with neutrons: Mass production in Rome


Physicists at the neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) had a glance into a Roman god. They found, that the figurine is hollow.

The 1800 year old Mercury figurine.

Radiography of the Roman God, taken at the instrument ANTARES. A little door at the back and the rest of the casting core inside are visible.

An indication for Roman mass production, says Professor Rupert Gebhard from the Archälogische Staatssammlung München.

The neutron radiography taken at the ANTARES instrument by Martin Mühlbauer also shows, that the legs were added after the first casting. The little door at the back seems to have been prized open after fabrication to remove the casting core.

The statue was produced in the second century AC. It was found in an archeological site at Oberburg am Main and is propriety of the Achäologische Staatssammlung München.


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