Dating and Authenticating Works of Art by Measurement of Natural Alpha Emitters

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Science  10 Mar 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3767, pp. 1238-1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3767.1238


A method for distinguishing between modern and old samples of lead has been used to analyze certain works of art. The basis of the method is the detection of radioactive lead-210, which decays with a 22-year half-life when it is unsupported by its long-lived precursor, radium-226. The latter is separated chemically from lead when lead and lead products are prepared from the ore.