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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Hans Postma
Luc Amkreutz
Alessandro Borella
Martijn Clarijs
Hans Kamermans
Winfried Kockelmann
Anna Paradowska
Peter Schillebeeckx
, and
Dirk Visser


Two neutron based techniques, neutron resonance capture analysis (NRCA) and time-of-flight neutron-diffraction (TOF-ND) have been used to determine the elemental composition and structure of a precious and very well preserved all-metal sword from the Bronze Age. This Buggenum sword was on loan from the National Museum of Antiquities (NMA) in Leiden (NL). NRCA and TOF-ND experiments have been carried out at a number of more or less identical positions of the sword. The tin-bronze ratio and the relative amounts of some minor elements (Sb, As, Ag, In) have been determined. The results of neutron diffraction measurements showed considerable tin-segregation, and clear indications of hardening on the edges of the blade. In addition, radiographs using Bremsstrahlung revealed the construction of the hilt–blade connection. The work was carried out at the EC Joint Research Centre IRMM in Geel (B) and at the ISIS facility of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK).

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