Paleo-Hazards in the coastal mediterranean: A geoarchaeological approach

Christophe Morhange, Nick Marriner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Zusammenfassung: Human societies in coastal zones are arguably the populations most prone to the danger of geological hazards and the need to devise strategies to live with them. Not only do settlers in coastal zones confront, the major geological problems of earthquake and volcanic eruption as do inland societies, but any such hazards are compounded by the situation of life at the interface between land and sea. Tsunamis are an obvious link between classical geological hazards and the ocean, but slower connections are also encountered, for example sea-level rise associated with the wasting away of the Pleistocene ice sheets. Slow, neotectonic changes along coasts are also significant, and starting in the Neolithic, human activities become a notable forcing factor in this zone. In fact, the human dimension is a two way street. Pioneer settlements from the Neolithic onwards are clearly constrained by their environments. After initial colonization of the habitat, the environment is in turn manipulated by the human inhabitants, who are now recognized as a geological force in their own right. Seldom are the human manipulations without significant problems, so that humanity itself has become a geological hazard. Geoarchaeology has long focused on paleonvironmental reconstructions and landscape evolution (Rapp and Hill 1998; Goldberg and Macphail 2005). Recent research progress in the Mediterranean has furthered the understanding of paleohazards in the coastal areas (Marriner and Morhange 2007). In this chapter, we draw on current topical examples to focus on four types of coastal hazard: slow postglacial sea-level rise, rapid sea-level rise, coastal deformation linked to base-level sediment inputs, and human impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes and Societies
Subtitle of host publicationSelected Cases
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789048194124
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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