A high-energy deposit in the Byzantine harbour of Yenikapi, Istanbul (Turkey)

Guénaëlle Bony, Nick Marriner, Christophe Morhange, David Kaniewski, Doĝan Perinçek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Byzantine harbour (Theodosian harbour) has been uncovered during excavations at Yenikapi, with a stratigraphic sequence spanning the past 7000 BP. In the marine part of the sedimentary sequence, a high-energy deposit has been interpreted as being of tsunami origin and related to the earthquake of 557 AD. This paper presents a bio-sedimentological analysis of this facies. The unit is characterised by coarse sands and gravels containing reworked material such as woods, bones, marble blocks, amphora fragments, ceramics, coins, shells and plant remains. The thickness of the facies varies between 10 and 100 cm. The sediment matrix is poorly sorted with skewness values indicative of a sub-tidal fine-sand environment. Many of the marine taxa have been reworked and diverse ecological assemblages are represented (lagoonal, coastal and open marine species). This unit is divided into three facies consistent with different phases of the tsunami drowning and water retreat. The basal facies corresponds to two tsunami wave trains, and the upper facies indicates the backwash flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 17 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Yenikapı excavation team and the Istanbul Archaeological Museum for their collaboration. Radiocarbon dates were financed by the ANR project Paleomed .

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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