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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 14, April 2, 2006, Article 19

WESTERN ASSAY INGOT RESEARCH UPDATE

Regarding John Kleeberg's discovery of a reference to Paul Franklin's
counterfeiting arrest, Fred Holabird writes: "This article contains
a very important discovery, which must be addressed. It does not,
however, make all western assay ingots fake. We must continue to
let science do the talking, and make the discoveries regarding
authenticity through applied science. We are on an important road
to discovery, but we aren't there yet.

There are a number of spurious ingots, both silver and gold, that
have gone through the marketplace, that have caused all of us
serious concern. As technology develops, we hope to find ways to
uncover the secrets of antiquarian metallurgy. Our current metals
fingerprinting work, which involves colleagues from major
gold-producing regions around the globe, involves looking at gold
and silver on an isotopic level allowing us to "source" the metal.
We are currently building that database, which is costly, but
very necessary. Already we have made significant discoveries
regarding some spurious ingots, but much more work is required.

Another important goal is a communal effort of experimentation
trying to "date" the metal "pours" by looking at various isotope
ratios, etc. that may lead to the proximal date an ingot was poured
(simply put, visualize Carbon-14 dating, of which you all are
familiar).  If we are successful, we can then test the questionable
pieces, as well as known legitimate ingots. Some of this methodology
has already been used in geology to date the formation of specific
minerals in rocks.

The problems with new research are many. First and foremost is
funding. We need independent funding for this research that can be
applied in both the US and Australia, which appears to eliminate,
at least in part, the NSF.  Private funding is desirable, because
it is quite simply a faster means to achieve a goal.

Our team currently is composed of gold experts from around the
world. Myself, David Fitch, John Watling (University of Western
Australia) and an incredible group from Lawrence Livermore Labs
involving Gerald English and his colleagues, who have been
working in a parallel direction on similar problems. While we
are still in the planning stages regarding the dating issue, we
all are of the opinion that it must be investigated. Meanwhile,
we might find other solutions to the problem after we all get
together for a think-tank session later this spring."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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