New insights on the relative sea level change during Holocene along the coasts of Tunisia and western Libya from archaeological and geomorphological markers

M. Anzidei, F. Antonioli, K. Lambeck, A. Benini, M. Soussi, R. Lakhdar

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New data of sea level changes for the Mediterranean region along the coasts of northern Africa are presented. Data are inferred from archaeological sites of Punic-Roman age located along the coast of Tunisia, between Tunis and Jerba island and along the western coast of Libya, between Sabratha and Leptis Magna. Data are based on precise measures of presently submerged archaeological markers that are good indicators of past sea-level elevation. Nineteen selected archaeological sites were studied in Tunisia and four in Libya, all aged between ∼2.0 and ∼1.5 ka BP. The functional elevations of significant archaeological markers were measured with respect to the sea level at the time of measurements, applying corrections for tide and atmospheric pressure values. The functional elevations of specific architectural parts of the sites were interpreted, related to sea level at the time of their construction providing data on the relative changes between land and sea. Observations were compared against sea level change predictions derived from the glacio-hydro-isostatic model associated with the Last Glacial cycle. The results indicate that local relative sea level change along the coast of Tunisia and Libya, has increased 0.2 ÷ 0.5 m since the last ∼2 ka. Besides minor vertical tectonic movements of the land, the observed changes are produced by eustatic and glacio-hydro-isostatic variations acting in the Mediterranean basin since the end of the last glacial maximum. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5 - 12
Number of pages8
JournalQuaternary International
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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