WIT Press

With arsenic on the etruscans' footprints


Free (open access)


Volume 2 (2007), Issue 1



Page Range

24 - 26

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Donati, F.M. Pulselli, G. Protano, L. Dallai, R. Francovich, E. Tiezzi


In this article, the results of a study in which a convincing link emerged between geochemistry and archaeology are discussed. Research into the origins of strong arsenic anomalies in southwest Tuscany helped in realising the correlation between ancient mining activities and higher levels of the element. Besides an indication about the source of arsenic pollution in this area, these results indicate that arsenic can be used to trace major archaeo-industrial settlements. This research can provide precious information about the medieval period, when land use and ore extraction were regulated, for the first time, by a mining code. Interesting data can also be obtained about the Etruscan population and their ability to extract and work various metals, which confirmed their predominance in central Italy in the pre-Roman period. This kind of study could also be extended to other substances.


archaeological sites, arsenic, soil contamination