30. How Metallurgy is Helping Us Piece Together Our Past

A few decades ago the curator of the Government Museum in Madras approached nuclear scientist Dr. Baldev Raj with a problem; bronze Chola idols that were stolen were being returned or retrieved but there was no way to identify if they were real. This posed a challenge not just to Dr. Raj but all other scientists in India: how to identify the origin of a historical artifact? How to tease out its ‘fingerprints’ and find out the era it belonged to? And can you use science to tell fake ones from real?

Music by Chris Zabriske and Josh Woodward