Tuesday, Feb 20 2018 | Updated at 06:01 AM EST

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Secrets of 6,000-year-old amulet illuminated by science

Clues about how a 6,000 year-old amulet discovered in Mehrgarh, Pakistan, was manufactured are uncovered by an imaging method reported in Nature Communications. The method, known as photoluminescence imaging, shines light to allow microstructures that are invisible under other conventional microscopes to be seen. It confirms the amulet contains two types of copper oxide and was cast as a single piece by pouring very pure molten copper into a clay mould.This study demonstrates the value of the imaging technique for archaeological artifacts, but it may also be a useful analytical tool in geophysics, engineering and environmental sciences.

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