Biostratigraphic Evidence Relating to the Age-Old Question of Hannibal's Invasion of Italy, II: Chemical Biomarkers and Microbial Signatures

W. C. Mahaney*, C. C R Allen, P. Pentlavalli, A. Kulakova, J. M. Young, R. W. Dirszowsky, A. West, B. Kelleher, S. Jordan, C. Pulleyblank, S. O'Reilly, B. T. Murphy, K. Lasberg, P. Somelar, M. Garneau, S. A. Finkelstein, M. K. Sobol, V. Kalm, P. J M Costa, R. G V HancockK. M. Hart, P. Tricart, R. W. Barendregt, T. E. Bunch, M. W. Milner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

As discussed in Part I, a large accumulation of mammalian faeces at the mire site in the upper Guil Valley near Mt. Viso, dated to 2168cal 14C yr., provides the first evidence of the passage of substantial but indeterminate numbers of mammals within the time frame of the Punic invasion of Italia. Specialized organic biomarkers bound up in a highly convoluted and bioturbated bed constitute an unusual anomaly in a histosol comprised of fibric and hemist horizons that are usually expected to display horizontal bedding. The presence of deoxycholic acid and ethylcoprostanol derived from faecal matter, coupled with high relative numbers of Clostridia 16S rRNA genes, suggests a substantial accumulation of mammalian faeces at the site over 2000years ago. The results reported here constitute the first chemical and biological evidence of the passage of large numbers of mammals, possibly indicating the route of the Hannibalic army at this time. Combined with the geological analysis reported in Part I, these data provide a background supporting the need for further historical archaeological exploration in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalArchaeometry
Volume59
Issue number1
Early online date16 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Archaeological science
  • Faecal biomarkers
  • Hannibalic War
  • Historical archaeological site identification
  • Microbiological evidence
  • Organic geochemical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History

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