Study of the minor and trace element contents in the composition of early aluminium is interesting from a cultural history perspective because it can provide information on the evolution of aluminium smelting practice. A range of aluminium artefacts from the Swiss National Museum and the Lausanne Historical Museum, Switzerland, have been characterised with regard to their minor and trace element composition. This was performed using external beam Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) with 1 MeV protons and a portable X-ray fluorescence system. The concentration of Mn and Pb was significantly higher for artefacts produced by the amalgam process which confirms studies reported by others.