Coastal palaeoenvironmental record of Late Bronze to Iron Age harbour development at Liman Tepe-Clazomenae, western Anatolia, Turkey

Nicholas L. Riddick, Joseph I. Boyce, Vasıf Şahoğlu, Hayat Erkanal, İrfan Tuğcu, Yeşim Alkan, Eduard G. Reinhardt, Beverly N. Goodman-Tchernov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liman Tepe-Clazomenae, located in the southern Bay of Izmir, Turkey, was an important Early Bronze Age to Classical Period trading port and cultural centre in the eastern Aegean. The mainland harbour, now submerged ~1.5–2 m below present sea level, is one of the best-preserved examples of an Iron Age (Archaic Period; ca. 7th–6th c. BCE) semi-enclosed harbour (>5 ha) with engineered breakwater structures. A multi-proxy study (micropalaeontology, micro-XRF core scanning) was conducted on seven harbour sediment cores and integrated with geophysical data to map the harbour structures and document coastal palaeoenvironmental changes. Bathymetry and side-scan mapping revealed two broad (>35 m) rubble-constructed breakwater structures and a submerged headland that divided the harbour into two separate sub-basins. Linear magnetic anomalies within the eastern breakwater indicate a buried pier structure, recording possible augmentation of a Late Bronze Age (LBA) or Early Iron Age (EIA) proto-harbour embayment. The harbour basin stratigraphy comprises foreshore and upper shoreface deposits overlying terrigenous clays across a marine transgressive surface. A distinctive silt-rich chemofacies with increased Ti/Ca and decreased Si marks a transition from a sandy marine shoreface to a low energy, sheltered LBA proto-harbour embayment. The Iron Age harbour construction (ca. 7th–6th c. BCE) is recorded by a rise in Rosalina, decreased Ti/Ca and the appearance of Archaic pottery. The harbour was in use from the Archaic to early Classical periods and served as Clazomenae's mainland commercial port.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106842
JournalMarine Geology
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research work conducted under permits from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant (RGPIN-2014-05829, 2022-05333) to JIB and grants from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP), TÜBİTAK (108 K263, 114 K266) and Ankara University to VŞ and HE. We gratefully acknowledge funding and support of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, Turkish Institute of Nautical Archaeology (TINA), the Koç Foundation and Urla Municipality. We thank three anonymous reviewers and the editor for their constructive comments and the students and staff of the Ankara University Mustafa V. Koç Center for Maritime Archaeology (ANKÜSAM), Izmir Region Excavations and Research Project (IRERP) for field and logistical support. NLR was supported by a NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship. We thank Marine Magnetics Corp. for providing magnetometer equipment and Seequent Ltd. for academic software grants. We dedicate this paper to the memory of dear colleague, mentor, and friend Prof. Dr. Hayat Erkanal (1940-2019).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Archaic harbour
  • Geophysical surveys
  • Late Bronze-early Iron Age transition
  • Liman Tepe-Clazomenae
  • Lithochemofacies
  • micro-XRF core scanning
  • Palaeoenvironments
  • Proto-harbour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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