Magdala harbour sedimentation (Sea of Galilee, Israel), from natural to anthropogenic control

Giovanni Sarti, Veronica Rossi, Alessandro Amorosi, Stefano De Luca, Anna Lena, Christophe Morhange, Adriano Ribolini, Irene Sammartino, Duccio Bertoni, Gianni Zanchetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent excavations undertaken within the framework of the "Magdala Project" in the ancient city of Magdala/Tarichaee, located on the western shore of Sea of Galilee (northern Israel), have unearthed a harbour structure extending for more than 100m, dating from the late Hellenistic (167-63BC) to the middle Roman (70-270AD) period, with well-preserved quays and mooring stones. An integrated (sedimentological, micropalaeontological and archaeological) study of the late Holocene sedimentary succession buried beneath the ancient harbour area reveals the harbour's main evolutionary stages, shedding new light on the natural versus anthropogenic control on sedimentation. Three sedimentary sequences, a few decimeters thick, reflect the recent palaeoenvironmental evolution of the Magdala area. These include: 1) a pre-harbour foundation sequence; 2) a harbour sequence; and 3) a harbour abandonment sequence. Above the natural sandy beachface deposits, subject to wave reworking (pre-harbour facies), the abrupt transition to dark silty sands with high metal concentrations reveals the onset of an anthropogenic control on coastal sedimentation through the construction of harbour structures (harbour facies). The overlying, vertically stacked sand and gravel beach deposits (post-harbour facies), record harbour siltation and abandonment at the transition from the Middle to the Late Roman period (270-350AD).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 25 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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