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Geoarchaeological challenges in the Cyclades continental shelf (Aegean Sea)

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The present day Cyclades Plateau in Central Aegean Sea (Greece) is characterised by the presence of numerous small islands and an extended shelf. The interpretation of high-resolution seismic profiles reveals that the shelf has been subjected to successive stages of submergence and emergence due to the Quaternary relative sea level changes. This has resulted to shelf seabed erosion by sub-aerial conditions or palaeo-surfaces burial by thick deltaic/coastal sequences. Within this complicated habitat, it is very difficult for Palaeolithic human remains to be discovered due to their elimination by physical processes. On the basis of present study's bathymetric data set and applying the model developed by Lambeck (1996), a detailed description of the palaeo-geography of Cyclades shelf since the Last Glacial Maximun (LGM) (ca. 20,000 B.P.) has been accomplished. In addition, a statistical analysis has shown a loss of the three-fourth of the initial surface area of the Plateau, up to present time. The low-lying shelf areas, with an average slope of 1.58°, perhaps provided appropriate conditions for sustaining human, animal and plant life. Therefore, parts of this area could present high geoarchaeological interest improving our knowledge in relation to human activities and associated environments during Uppermost Palaeolothic, Mesolithic and Neolithic.

German
Der kykladische Inselschelf im Ägäisraum (Griechenland) wird als Epikontinentalmeer mit hoch differenzierter Geomorphologie bezeichnet. Sein charakteristisches Merkmal ist eine große Zahl von kleinen und großen Inseln. Die Analysen von lithoseismischen Profilen liefern Informationen über die verschiedenen Phasen der Meeresspiegelschwankungen während des Quartärs. Erosionsflächen, Delta- und Küstenformationen sind die Indikatoren dafÜr. In diesem komplizierten System menschliche Zivilizationsrelikte des Paläolithikums zu entdecken, scheint eine schwierige Aufgabe zu sein. Aufgrund von existierenden bathymetrischen Daten und unter Anwendung des Modells von Lambeck (1996) entstand eine genaue Beschreibung der Paläogeographie des kykladischen Inselschelfs seit dem LGM (die letzten 20.000 Jahre). Statistische Rechnungen zeigen, dass drei Viertel des, während dieser Zeit existierenden Landes der Kykladen, vom Meer bedeckt waren. Die flache Neigung der Schelfoberfläche lieferte wahrscheinlich geeignete Bedingungen sowohl für die Entwicklung des menschlichen Lebens als auch der Tier- und Pflanzenwelt. Es scheint sehr interessant zu sein, unsere Kenntnisse über die Beziehungen zwischen Umwelt und Mensch während der paläolithischen, mesolithischen und neolithischen Zeit zu erweitern.
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Keywords: CYCLADES; PALAEO-GEOMORPHOLOGIC RECONSTRUCTION, PLATEAU; SHORELINE DISPLACEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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  • Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie main volume is a peer-reviewed international journal presenting original contributions of high scientific standard from all fields of geomorphology, encompassing basic research and applied studies. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (ZfG) invites the submission of original papers from the entire field of geomorphological research, both applied and theoretical. Authors are encouraged to submit their papers to the editor-in-chief. Please peruse the instructions to authors (PDF) before submitting your paper.

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