Paleo-environmental evolution of the Larnaca Salt Lakes (Cyprus) and the relationship to second millennium BC settlement

Benoît Devillers, Michael Brown, Christophe Morhange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New coring data provides a complete 14C dated sequence covering the paleo-environmental evolution of the Larnaca Salt Lakes from c. 9000 BP onwards. This suggests the formation of a relatively confined lagoon after 4000 cal. BP. On the western shore of the main Aliki basin, overseas imports from the Late Bronze Age site of Dromolaxia-Vyzakia (Hala Sultan Tekke) reflect use of the Salt Lakes as a harbour during the second millennium BC. Coring and geomorphological mapping were employed to determine routes of navigation between this port and the open sea, with two main natural channels identified. A third potential communication in the form of an artificial cut, previously dated by Gifford (1978) to the Venetian period, is discussed with reference to changes in relative sea level along the island's south-east coast. Abandonment of settlement at Dromolaxia-Vyzakia in the early 12th century BC relates to the gradual isolation of the Salt Lakes lagoon from the surrounding marine environment through sedimentation. The timing of this event correlates with other known instances of population displacement throughout the eastern Mediterranean c. 1200 BC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Coastal geomorphology
  • Cyprus
  • Dromolaxia-vyzakia
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Harbour engineering
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Mediterranean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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