The late Holocene record of Lake Mareotis, Nile Delta, Egypt

Clément Flaux, Matthieu Giaime, Valérie Pichot, Nick Marriner, Mena El-Assal, Abel Guihou, Pierre Deschamps, Christelle Claude, Christophe Morhange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lake Maryut (northwestern Nile Delta, Egypt) was a key feature of Alexandria's hinterland and economy during Greco-Roman times. Its shores accommodated major economic centers, and the lake acted as a gateway between the Nile valley and the Mediterranean. It is suggested that lake-level changes, connections with the Nile and the sea, and possible high-energy events considerably shaped the human occupation history of the Maryut. To reconstruct Lake Maryut hydrology in historical times, we used faunal remains, geochemistry (Sr isotopic signature of ostracods) and geoarcheological indicators of relative lake-level changes. The data show both a rise in Nile inputs to the basin during the first millennia BCE and CE and a lake-level rise of ca. 1.5 m during the Roman period. A high-energy deposit, inferred from reworked radiocarbon dates, may explain an enigmatic sedimentary hiatus previously attested to in Maryut's chronostratigraphy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalE and G Quaternary Science Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported by the ANR (France) (grant no. ANR-12-SENV-0008-03), the Investissement d'Avenir (France) (grant no. EQUIPEX ASTER-CEREGE), and the Durham Junior Research Fellowship (grant no. 609412).

Funding Information:
We thank Hélène Mariot for taking care of CEREGE's clean lab. Matthieu Giaime acknowledges the support of the Institute of Advanced Studies and the Department of Geography at Durham University. We thank two anonymous referees for constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We thank Martin Seeliger for kindly translating the abstract into German.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Clément Flaux et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Geology
  • Paleontology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Archaeology


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