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Book: Mediterranean Resilience

Chapter: Anthropogenic Erosion from Hellenistic to Recent Times in the Northern Gulf of Corinth, Greece

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41507


The problem of soil erosion due to human activities such as deforestation, pastoralism, and agriculture has long been recognized. Greece, like much of the of the Mediterranean world, is particularly susceptible to soil loss, due to the arid climate and steep, rocky terrain, and previous studies have sought to date this soil aggradation and to attribute it to human activity, climatic changes, or a combination of the two. This study uses near-shore sediment cores from Antikyra Bay, in the Gulf of Corinth, to understand the sources and timing of erosional events in the study area of the Kastrouli-Antikyra Bay Land and Sea Project. Sedimentological analysis and radiocarbon dating of foraminifera and twigs show that there are two major periods of soil aggradation in this record: the first occurred in the Hellenistic and/or Roman period (ca. 1900–2100 BP), and the second started in the Ottoman period (ca. 350 BP) and persists today. In addition to documentation of soil aggradation, two paleo-shorelines were identified during the geophysical survey. A local relative sea level curve constructed for this study suggests the shallower of the two is between ~7.7 and 8.7 thousand years old, while the deeper feature formed around 8.9 to 9.7 thousand years ago.

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