Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 9, pp 4959–4970 | Cite as

The silver treasure of Marengo: silver provenancing and insights into late antiquity Roman and Gallo-Roman hoards

  • Ivana AngeliniEmail author
  • Caterina Canovaro
  • Marica Venturino
  • Gilberto Artioli
Original Paper


Lead isotopic ratios were measured on silver fragments extracted from several important objects of the hoard of Marengo. The hoard, known as the “treasure of Marengo”, is one of the most important silver assemblages of late antiquity. It is dated to the second half of the 2nd century AD-first half of the 3rd century AD. The interpretation of the resulting isotopic data based on extended reference isotopic databases of lead/silver ores indicates that most of the analysed objects from Marengo form a rather homogeneus stock of silver metal having a signature affine to the mines of French Massif Central. One of the objects, a large belt with figures of divinity and heroes, was made of Iberian silver, and the Pb-Ag-Cu alloy present in the filling of the arm of a female statuette is rich in Sardinian lead. The results are discussed in terms of the known circulation of silver metal in the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd century AD. The lead isotope data are compared with available data on coeval Roman silver hoards (Notre Dame d’Allençon, Berthouville, Graincourt-lès-Havrincourt, Boscoreale), circulating silver denarii, and Roman lead ingots rescued from shipwrecks in the Western Mediterranean sea. The role of the Iberian and French mines in the silver production from the 1st to the first half of the 3rd century AD is discussed.


Roman silver Hoard of Marengo Silver provenance Lead isotopes Denarii Lead ingots 



I.M. Villa is thanked for the collaboration in the MC-ICP-MS measurements. G. Cavazzini assisted in the sample preparation.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Alessandria and by Progetto di Ateneo 2013 ‘Copper metallogenesis and provenancing in the Alpine realm’ [University of Padova, CPDA138741].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento dei Beni CulturaliUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.INSTMConsorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali50121 FlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di GeoscienzeUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly
  4. 4.Soprintendenze archeologia belle arti e paesaggio per le province di Alessandria, Asti e CuneoTorinoItaly

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