Medieval relative low sea-level indications from the Peloponnese and the Aegean Sea

Benny Bechor, Theotokis Theodoulou, Giorgio Spada, Silas Dean, Dorit Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research is an interdisciplinary study of changes in relative sea level (RSL) in the Peloponnese and the Aegean Sea during the last 1000 years that links archaeological sea-level indicators, from medieval constructions and historical accounts with geological processes. Site survey was conducted in the south Peloponnese, Crete and Paros Island. The study evaluates the 'functional height' of the archaeological remains and dates them based on archaeological and historical records. The archaeological indicators were compared to other indications made by previous studies and to the predicted RSL. The results correlate with the RSL indications in previous studies, but they are below the predicted curve. The difference can be attributed to both the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) and to tectonic contributions, which are in agreement with other studies in the area. The current study calculates a low RSL of about −1.3m in the south Peloponnese of the 5th century CE, rising gradually to about −0.5 m at the 15th century. In the Cyclades Plateau RSL of −1.2m is estimated for the end of 13th century, climbing to −0.7m by the beginning of the 16th century. The archaeological sea-level indicators in the south Peloponnese and the Aegean Sea confirm the low medieval sea levels found in other Mediterranean sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA


  • Coastal archaeology
  • East mediterranean sea
  • Greece
  • Medieval period
  • Sea-level change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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