How Hannibal crossed the Alps mapped thanks to animal manure

TOK TOPICS: History, Natural Sciences, Sense Perception, Reason


Case description : After centuries of disagreements regarding Hannibal’s route across the Alps, an international team of Scientists have traced his precise path by following the animal manure. The 2000 year old mystery was finally solved using chemical and biological evidence of the passage of large numbers of mammals. The researchers used a combination of microbial metagenome analysis, pollen analyses, environmental ,chemical, geomorphic and pedological investigation, as well as geophysical techniques to show a ‘mass animal deposition’ event dated to about 218 BC.

TOK LINK : For more than 2000 years ,academicians, historians and statesmen have argued about Hannibal’s route across the Alps. In an absence of compelling archaeological evidence there was no agreement on the trail and the occurance of the event in history. The same route was first proposed more than fifty years ago by Sir Gavin de Beer, (1899-1972), a British evolutionary embryologist but was not widely accepted by the academic community owing to lack of substantial evidence.

Sample KQs:

How far is evidence significant in knowing History?

Is an interdisciplinary approach more effective in knowing History?