X-rays shed fresh light on historic coin collection

The University of Birmingham’s Barber Institute is usually regarded as a temple of high culture. Few realise the most hi-tech approaches are sometimes employed to carry out research into the objects in its collections, writes Andrew Davies.

While it is ordinarily the picture galleries that capture the visitor’s attention, the Barber also houses one of Europe’s finest collection of Roman, Byzantine, Sassanian and medieval coins – second only to the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and comparable to that at Dumbarton Oaks University in the US.