Recherches géomorphologiques dans la région littorale d'Alexandrie en Egypte

Abstract : The discovery of important archaeological vestiges, submerged a number of meters underwater in direct proximity to modern Alexandria, has necessitated research into the relative mobility of the sea and coastal landscape during ancient time. In response to this, a twofold research framework has been applied : underwater investigations using diving equipment and three cores campaigns. The work has shed light on the geomorphological evolution of Alexandria's coastline over the course of the last 6,000 years. Morphogenetic studies of the tombolo linking the Island of Pharos to the continent have been undertaken, in addition to work concerning the progressive infilling of the eastern and western bays. From the end of the 4th century BC the foundation of Alexandria brought about an artificialisation of the coastline. The Heptastadion was constructed on the summit of the tombolo, and spawned two vast harbour complexes. The main flank, which is the best protected, occupies the bay located to the east of the Heptastadium. Numerous cores were extracted from these ancient harbour basins. The latter serve as excellent sediment traps and have allowed to reconstruct the palaeoenvironmental evolution of this littoral zone, providing evidence for the lateral mobility of the coastline under the influence of the tombolo. Clay mineralogy and isotopic studies of neodym/strontium have shown that the sediments shaping the tombolo and infilling the harbours are of Nile derivation. Finally, it is demonstrated that human societies were present in this littoral area prior to the foundation of the city by the Greeks. Two anthropogenic tracers were used to expose this : (1) pollen biostratigraphy manifests an arrival of cereals prior to the 4th century BC ; (2) the geochemical signal of lead attests to metallurgic activities from 2600 BC.
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Contributor : Jean-Philippe Goiran <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 2, 2008 - 4:01:44 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 2:58:33 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00326333, version 1



Jean-Philippe Goiran. Recherches géomorphologiques dans la région littorale d'Alexandrie en Egypte. Sciences de l'Homme et Société. Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I, 2001. Français. ⟨tel-00326333⟩



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