Studying the authenticity of the golden element from a mongolian warrior's armor by physical­chemical methods




electron microscopy, alloy microstructure, signs of authenticity, historical values made of gold


We report results from an expert study into the historical artifact of the XIV–XV centuries ‒ the golden armor element of a Mongol warrior. The obtained results allowed us to establish signs of authenticity in the historical values made of gold in a given chronological period.

The microstructure of the object was investigated at a magnification of 10–20 times, revealing significant fragility and frailty of the metal. At magnification by 150–200 times, we found the system of cracks with triple points, individual caverns, and a cavernous character of the fracture. Furthermore, we have revealed many dislocations of fractures and traces of the metal flow at the surface of the item, as well as traces of tools that had been used to clean it. At magnification by 2,000 times, we found an extremely complex morphology of the metal with numerous caverns, as well as the surface of partially dissolved metal, which retains the contours of ancient scratches.

We have established that the deeper parts of the alloy partially retained their chemical composition, and the concentration of gold in them is only 62–80 %, while the alloy was refined at the surface in a natural way, therefore, the gold content in it was determined to be within 81–98 %. In addition, in the deeper parts of the alloy, silver concentrations are larger compared with the surface layers, because silver compounds are chemically more active and are carried away from the surface under the action of external factors.

We have determined a list of features that indicate the authenticity of the object, and which are unambiguously detected using an electron microscope, as well as based on the results of studying the chemical composition of the surface of the artifact by emission method. In our opinion, it is efficient to use electron microscopy in experts' work in order to confirm authenticity, to identify signs of forgery and traces of restoration of artifacts made from gold alloys

Author Biographies

Volodymyr Indutnyi, Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics Kyoto str., 19, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02156

Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Associate Professor

Department of Commodity Science and Customs Affairs

Nina Merezhko, Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics Kyoto str., 19, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02156

Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Head of Department

Department of Commodity Science and Customs Affairs

Kateryna Pirkovich, Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics Kyoto str., 19, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02156

PhD, Associate Professor

Department of Commodity Science and Customs Affairs


  1. Indutnyi, V. V. (2016). Otsinka kulturnykh tsinnostei. Kyiv: KNTEU, 880.
  2. Livshic, B. G. (1990). Metallografiya. Moscow: Metallurgiya, 236.
  3. Bolhovitinov, N. F., Bolhovitinov, E. N. (1959). Atlas makro- i mikrostruktur metallov i splavov. Moscow: Mashgiz, 88.
  4. Shalev, S., Shechtman, D., Shilstein, S. S. (2013). A study of the composition and microstructure of silver hoards from Tel Beth-Shean, Tel Dor, and Tel Miqne, Israel. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 6 (3), 221–225. doi:
  5. Ashkenazi, D., Gitler, H., Stern, A., Tal, O. (2017). Metallurgical investigation on fourth century BCE silver jewellery of two hoards from Samaria. Scientific Reports, 7 (1). doi:
  6. Scrivano, S., Ruberto, C., Gómez-Tubío, B., Mazzinghi, A., Ortega-Feliu, I., Ager, F. J. et. al. (2017). In-situ non-destructive analysis of Etruscan gold jewels with the micro-XRF transportable spectrometer from CNA. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 16, 185–193. doi:
  7. Scrivano, S., Ortega-Feliu, I., Gómez-Tubío, B., Ager, F. J., de la Bandera, M. L., Respaldiza, M. A., Ontalba-Salamanca, M. A. (2017). Non-destructive micro-analytical system for the study of the manufacturing processes of a group of gold jewels from “El Carambolo” treasure. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 130, 133–141. doi:
  8. Guerra, M. F., Rehren, T. (2009). In-situ examination and analysis of the gold jewellery from the Phoenician tomb of Kition (Cyprus). ArchéoSciences, 33, 151–158. doi:
  9. Troalen, L. G., Guerra, M. F., Tate, J., Manley, B. (2009). Technological study of gold jewellery pieces dating from the Middle Kingdom to the New Kingdom in Egypt. ArchéoSciences, 33, 111–119. doi:
  10. Conventi, A., Neri, E., Verità, M. (2012). SEM-EDS analysis of ancient gold leaf glass mosaic tesserae. A contribution to the dating of the materials. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 32, 012007. doi:
  11. Rastrelli, A., Miccio, M., Troalen, L. G., Martinón-Torres, M., Guerra, M. F., Siano, S. et. al. (2009). Modern and ancient gold jewellery attributed to the Etruscans: a science-based study. ArchéoSciences, 33, 357–364. doi:
  12. Oddy, A., Scott, D. A. (1992). Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals. Studies in Conservation, 37 (4), 282. doi:
  13. Pirkovich, K. (2015). Identification of antique silver jewelries by microstructure. Tovary i rynky, 1, 148–153.
  14. Indutny, V., Merezhko, N., Pirkovich, K. (2017). Safety of cultural monuments from metals. Tovary i rynky, 1, 36–49.
  15. Lazarenko, Ye. K. (1970). Kurs mineralohiyi. Kyiv: Vyshcha shkola, 600.
  16. Saveliev, O. M. Vynyknennia monholskoi derzhavy. Pochatok monholskykh zavoiuvan. Available at:




How to Cite

Indutnyi, V., Merezhko, N., & Pirkovich, K. (2019). Studying the authenticity of the golden element from a mongolian warrior’s armor by physical­chemical methods. Eastern-European Journal of Enterprise Technologies, 1(12 (97), 34–40.



Materials Science