The low temperature sintering behaviour of nanocrystalline Ag powder (with an average size of 70nm) was characterized. Using spark plasma sintering(SPS), the Ag nanopowders can be successfully sintered at low pressure for only 5min without external heating, and the sintering density increases and porosity decreases significantly with increase in the sintering temperature. Nanoindentation has been used to characterize the SPS sintered Ag samples. The mechanisms of the low sintering temperature behaviour of the nano-Ag powder and the nanoscale mechanical performance have been discussed. Compression tests were also used to characterize the mechanical properties of the sintered Ag sample with a maximum strain up to 15%. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.