Provenance determination of silver artefacts from the 1629 VOC wreck Batavia using LA-ICP-MS

Liesel Gentelli

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


Silver artefacts from the shipwreck Batavia, known to have been made on commission by the Dutch East India Company in 1627–1628 for trade in the Dutch East Indies, were analysed using LA-ICP-MS for trace elemental composition. The results were compared to a database of trace elemental compositions of Spanish, Spanish American and other European silver coins of known provenance. At the time Spain, which controlled the vast majority of world silver, was at war with the United Netherlands, and was enforcing a trade embargo, severely limiting the supplies of precious metals accessible by the Dutch. Based on their trace elemental composition, the Batavia silver artefacts were found to have been most similar to silver known to have originated in Germany and silver that reached the Dutch indirectly from Spain. These results shed light on the movement of silver as a commodity throughout the world during a unique time in history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-542
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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