Salt pans as a new archaeological sea-level proxy: A test case from Dalmatia, Croatia

B. Bechor, D. Sivan, S. Miko, O. Hasan, M. Grisonic, I. Radić Rossi, B. Lorentzen, G. Artioli, G. Ricci, T. Ivelja, G. Spada, A. Brook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reconstruction of paleo relative sea level (RSL) is based on multi-proxy disciplines including archaeology. Saltpans, like fish tanks which are considered a reliable method for acquiring RSL index points, are also anthropogenic intertidal facilities, used continuously in the Mediterranean from early antiquity. The Dalmatian shore contains a large number of preserved and historically dated ancient saltpans, now flooded by the rising sea, providing great potential for past RSL indication. The primary objective of this study is to develop a new holistic approach for producing high quality elevation measurements of the saltpan structures and estimating paleo RSL during the last 2 ka. The study combined aerial photogrammetry of the site, bathymetry acoustics scanning, and underwater archaeological survey of the man-made structures, as well as sampling wood and mortar in situ where available. Evaluation of each site's RSL and the functional height is based on the same assumptions and interpretations made for fish tanks, using elevation measurements on the top of the separation walls and the bottom of the sluice gates. In all the sites analyzed here, we achieved reliable digital surface models with continuous high-resolution data on the indicative structures with single centimeters level of accuracy. The study finds that during the 5th - 6th centuries, RSL was −92 ± 25 cm, increased to −62 ± 21 cm during the 7th - 11th centuries, and decreased to −104 ± 20 cm in the 14th century. Medieval RSL can be explained either by strong tectonic subsidence post 1300 AD or by fluctuations as observed in the East Mediterranean, which requires validation by further Medieval indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106680
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume250
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study carried out at the Department of Maritime Civilizations, L. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, was funded by a Sir Maurice and Lady Irene Hatter Research Grant for Maritime Studies for which we are thankful. Also, authors are grateful for partial financial support for the research provided through Cost Action ES1402 ?Evaluation of Ocean Syntheses.? Research performed by O. Hasan and S. Miko was included in the project ?Lost Lake Landscapes of the Eastern Adriatic Shelf ?(LoLADRIA; project no. 9419), funded by the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ). Also field work was funded through the EMONet Geology II project. G. Spada was funded by a FFABR (Finanziamento delle Attivit? Base di Ricerca) grant of MIUR. The authors thank the Faculty of Geodesy, University of Zagreb and Zagreb University of Applied Sciences for supporting the project with equipment and expert advice for the mapping activities. We would like to thank the University of Zadar and the Institute for Maritime Heritage ?Ars Nautica?, Croatia, for supplying us with the equipment for the underwater archaeological surveys. We would like to thank the graphic artist Noga Yoselevich from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, for the figures design. Many thanks also to Dr. David G. Ruff for language review and useful comments.

Funding Information:
This study carried out at the Department of Maritime Civilizations, L. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa , was funded by a Sir Maurice and Lady Irene Hatter Research Grant for Maritime Studies for which we are thankful. Also, authors are grateful for partial financial support for the research provided through Cost Action ES1402 ″Evaluation of Ocean Syntheses.” Research performed by O. Hasan and S. Miko was included in the project “Lost Lake Landscapes of the Eastern Adriatic Shelf “(LoLADRIA; project no. 9419), funded by the Croatian Science Foundation ( HRZZ ). Also field work was funded through the EMONet Geology II project. G. Spada was funded by a FFABR (Finanziamento delle Attività Base di Ricerca) grant of MIUR . The authors thank the Faculty of Geodesy, University of Zagreb and Zagreb University of Applied Sciences for supporting the project with equipment and expert advice for the mapping activities. We would like to thank the University of Zadar and the Institute for Maritime Heritage “Ars Nautica”, Croatia, for supplying us with the equipment for the underwater archaeological surveys. We would like to thank the graphic artist Noga Yoselevich from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, for the figures design. Many thanks also to Dr. David G. Ruff for language review and useful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Archaeological sea-level markers
  • Croatia
  • Dalmatian coast
  • Digital surface modeling
  • GIS
  • Remote sensing
  • Saltpans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

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