Coastline shifts and probable ship landing site submerged off ancient Locri-Epizefiri, southern Italy

Journal of Coastal Research

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DOI: 10.2112/08-0014.1



A geophysical survey provides new information on marine features located seaward of Locri-Epizefiri (Locri), an ancient Greek settlement on the Ionian coastal margin in southern Italy. The study supplements previous work by archaeologists who long searched for the site's harbor and recently identified what was once a marine basin that is now on land next to the city walls of Locri. Profiles obtained offshore, between the present coast and outer shelf, made with a high-resolution, seismic subbottom-profiling system, record spatial and temporal variations of buried Holocene deposits. Two of these submerged features are part of a probable now-submerged ship landing facility. The offshore features can be linked to coastline displacements that occurred off Locri: a sea-to-land shift before Greek settlement, followed by a shoreline reversal from the archaeological site back to sea, and more recently, a return landward. The seaward directed coastal shift that occurred after Locri's occupation by Greeks was likely caused by land uplift near the coastal margin and tectonic seaward shift of the coast, as documented along this geologically active sector of the Calabrian Arc. The seismic survey records an angular, hook-shaped, low rise that extends from the present shore and is now buried on the inner shelf. The rise, enclosing a core lens of poorly stratified to transparent acoustic layers, bounds a broad, low-elevation zone positioned immediately seaward of the shoreline. Close proximity of the raised feature to the low-elevation area suggests it may have been a fabricated structure that functioned as a wave-break for a ship-landing site. The study indicates that the basin extended offshore as a function of the coastline's seaward migration during and/or after Greek occupation of Locri.

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Coastline shifts and probable ship landing site submerged off ancient Locri-Epizefiri, southern Italy
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Journal of Coastal Research
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Journal of Coastal Research
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