Reconnaissance of the Hannibalic Route in the Upper Po Valley, Italy: Correlation with Biostratigraphic Historical Archaeological Evidence in the Upper Guil Valley, France

W. C. Mahaney*, P. Somelar, A. West, R. W. Dirszowsky, C. C.R. Allen, T. K. Remmel, P. Tricart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Controversy over the alpine route taken by the Hannibalic Army from the Rhône Basin into Italia in 218 bc (2168 cal bp) has raged amongst classicists for over two millennia. Because Hannibal crossed the Alps, the significance for identifying the route taken by the Punic Army lies more in its potential for identifying sites of historical archaeological significance than a resolution of one of history's most enduring questions. While compelling stratigraphic, geochemical and microbiological evidence has been recovered from an alluvial floodplain mire in the upper Guil Valley, located below the Col de la Traversette (about 3000 masl) on the French–Italian border, it potentially identifies the invasion route as the one originally proposed by Sir Gavin de Beer in 1974. The dated layers in several sections, termed the MAD (mass animal deposition) beds based on disrupted/churned bedding and key/specialized biological components strongly supports de Beer's thesis that Hannibal chose the highest transit col into Italia. In addition to other physical evidence, we present here new physical, geomorphological and stratigraphic evidence, all calibrated by radiocarbon dating, that suggests Hannibal's imprint on the landscape exists in coalescing alluvial fans in the upper Po catchment of northern Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-258
JournalArchaeometry
Volume61
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS OF THE HANNIBALIC INVASION OF 218 bc (2168 CAL bp)
  • HANNIBALIC ROUTE ENIGMA
  • HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL SEDIMENT ARCHIVE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

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