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Archaeology/gold coins


QUESTION: Hello I have one more question and I promise not to bother you again. As I said I had already incorporated the fired bricks into the internal hidden room. The bricks were made from good old red Georgia Clay.Your mentioning the room being lead lined gave me an idea, could they have used lead paint and achieved the same result and how difficult would it have been to create lead paint in say the mid to late 1300's

ANSWER: Hi Lorie,  

Lead paint, no,  Hammered sheets of lead or copper yes.  But from the 1300's... Savanah was not settled until much later in the 1600s  Lead and copper may have deteriorated, depending on how it was incorporated into the "structure".  Also fired brick would require that a kiln be located nearby and none were built until the 1600's in that area.  Paint as such was a very expensive commodity even in the 1600's and was not really prevalent until much later.  Then for the most part it was white wash and pigmented paint was still quite expensive.  These paints were based on either lead or copper or other minerals and the pigments were crushed minerals.  Modern dyes for paints did not arrive on the scene until the late 1800's.  

The bricks when fired could have been glazed with a salt glaze.  This would have protected them from deterioration but you would still have moisture penetrating the mortar.  A staggered double or triple wall could reduce this penetration but it would also be very expensive and would have to include the floor so that moisture would not creep up from below.  If you are looking for an air tight chamber, it wouldn't even have a door way.  It would have to be totally sealed - sides, bottom and top.  Lead or copper liner would need to be between the second and third set of brick to keep all moisture and insects out.

If you could give me a clue as to what you are trying to protect, perhaps I can give you some "time" appropriate guidance.  You have books, wooden chest, jugs/jars of glazed stone ware.  

So, the time frame must be later depending on the nature of the book and stone ware.  Both are potentially out of sequence to the 1300's.  A book from this period would have been on velum and hand written and bound.  These were not common outside the walls of an abby but possible.  But that would also imply someone highly educated for the time and very wealthy.  Stone ware jugs as we know them today were not very common and would not have been made as yet in the new world.  No Kiln facilities for this like none for the making of brick.  The classic stone ware jug of the American South did not appear until the mid 1700's and all were salt glazed.  The European version had long tapered necks and were more like a ceramic bottle then a jug.

Wooden boxes were made as early as the Greeks and Romans So these are not at issue, unless lined with copper or lead.  A lead or copper lined box only came into being during the middle ages (1400's) and were relatively small due to the high cost of these metals.

I don't know if any of this helps or hinders.  And you may ask all the questions you would like.  No problem!   I wouldn't do this if I didn't like doing it.

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QUESTION: Thank you for that information. I am obviously writing a work of fiction. I am aware that the first colonists did not arrive in GA until the 1600's with Oglethorpe. However my people came to GA in the 1300's, not as part expeditions for England,or Spain or France. They landed in GA by accident the were headed for Narrangansett Rhode Island. Unexpected storm blew them off course. The group is running and hiding from those who would kill them. They are not criminals, They are wealthy, eleven very wealthy families, they just cannot be found. They land here and make friends with the natives and blend in with them while staying separate. They have treasure that must be hidden, must remain hidden, it was almost discovered before they came here and that is the reason they are here. Now over 600 years later their treasure has been found by descendants of two of the original families.

ANSWER: Did they take the norther route or the southern ?  Could make a difference...

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QUESTION: Hi again Technical question here, one of the brick boxes has been opened and the chest inside has revealed gold coins, now I know you said that coins could give a "wealth" of information and I am assuming that you mean more than just the obvious dates and locations of origin that would be stamped on the coins but also pollens or such that would be on the coins themselves. How would my characters and the archaeologist that is working with them store the coins. Would they store them individually to preserve any residue that would be on them and what tests could be or would be done on them. Thanks in advance for your help.

Hi Lorie,  

Besides dates and origin, they could have pollens, and other micro materials.  The metallurgy of the coins would be interesting as well.  Any residues would be "wASHed"off during processing.  The coins should be individually encased in specially designed coin holders.


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Ralph Salier


Archaeologist for the last 30 years. Norh American generalist and Hopwell culture/Red Ocher culture specifically. Lithics Expert and Ground Stone tools.


Past/Present clients
Numerous museums in US and Canada. Several University Anthropology Departments.

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