Identification of the exact route followed by Hannibal during his invasion of Italia in the Second Punic War is one of the major questions of antiquity and one that historians/archaeologists have long studied. One of the many clues in the ancient literature that can help answer this question is the mention of fired rock, the result of a conflagration Hannibal is reputed to have employed to reduce the size of boulders in a blocking rockslide some distance down from the high col on the Italian side. The only route with evidence of fired rock along the roadway leading into Italia follows the Col du Clapier, one of the possible northern routes discussed by historians. Radiocarbon dating of calcined rocks is not possible, but whereas Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM-EDS), backscatter electron scanning microscopy (BSE), High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (HRTEM), and Raman Spectroscopic data do not provide an age for the burnt rock, compositional evidence of the conflagration derived from these analyses may shed light on Hannibal's actual route.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)