Evolution of Taman Peninsula's ancient Bosphorus channels, south-west Russia: Deltaic progradation and Greek colonisation

Matthieu Giaime, Simona Avnaim-Katav, Christophe Morhange, Nick Marriner, Frauke Rostek, Alexey V. Porotov, Alexandre Baralis, David Kaniewski, Helmut Brückner, Daniel Kelterbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents new data looking into the Holocene evolution of the Kuban delta (Taman Peninsula, SW Russia), with particular emphasis on its southern arm. In the area of the later Taman Peninsula, the Holocene marine transgression created an archipelago around 6000. years ago. When sea-level rise decelerated, deltaic sedimentation and longshore drift gradually landlocked the islands, transforming the archipelago into a peninsula. The peninsula constituted an important area of Greek colonisation in the northern Black Sea because it was conducive to sea-faring, natural anchorages and human settlement. Natural factors such as delta progradation and the evolution of spits and sand bars have considerably affected the landscape evolution and therefore human occupation. After 6000 years ago the progradation of the delta began from the east of the peninsula, where the Kuban River drains into the sea. Navigation by an eastern channel, the Kuban Bosphorus became impossible at least 1500 years before the Greek colonisation. By then, the central Bosphorus (Temryuk Bosphorus) was well suited for sea-faring. The calm shallow-marine and lagoonal areas were a suitable environment for harbours and maritime activities. Nonetheless, the growth of sand spits and barriers at the head of the islands eventually led to the closure of these spaces after the early second millennium BC. Some ancient city-states, such as Golubitskaya 2 or Strelka were abandoned just a few centuries after their foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Black sea
  • Cimmerian Bosphorus
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Kuban River
  • Phanagoria
  • Russia
  • Taman Peninsula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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