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Brockmüller, S., Vött, A., May, S.M., Brückner, H.. Palaeoenvironmental changes of the Lefkada Sound (NW Greece) and their archaeological relevance. In: Gönnert, G., Pflüger, B., Bremer, J.-A. (eds.). Von der Geoarchäologie über die Küstendynamik zum Küstenzonenmanagement. Coastline Reports (9), pp. 127-138. EUCC - The Coastal Union, Leiden, 2007.


Lefkada Island is separated from the Greek mainland by the Lefkada Sound, a shallow lagoonal environment. Ancient accounts report that the Corinthians cut a navigable canal across a former isthmus in the 7th century BC. A nowadays submerged Corinthian mole at the southern end of the sound closed off a protected harbour area. The main objectives of our studies were to detect environmental changes throughout the Holocene and to reconstruct the palaeogeographical evolution of the Lefkada Sound for different points in time based on the analysis of the sedimentary record encountered in various geoarchives. Geomorphological, geochemical, microfaunal, archaeobotanical and geochronological methods as well as earth resistivity measurements were applied. From the northern Lefkada Sound and adjacent regions, severe tsunamigenic impact is known. Vibracore data shows considerable influence of extreme events on the development of the northern subarea in historical times. In the central part of the sound, our results revealed a terrestrial connection of Lefkada Island with the Greek mainland, which is gradually displaced by a limnic and later lagoonal environment. At least twofold high energy impact disturbed the quiescent lagoonal conditions at or after Hellenistic times. The marginal parts of the lagoon have been affected by siltation due to alluvial or anthropogenic deposition. In the area of the presumed harbour of ancient Lefkada, our results indicate an early marine transgression sometime before ~2800-2700 cal BC. Subsequently, open marine conditions prevailed for a long time, however showing temporary influence of high energy events. Layers with numerous artefacts probably reflect the period during which the harbour was in use and are subsequently covered by alluvial sediments. Several relative sea level indicators document a remarkably rapid relative sea level rise in the inner sound, partly due to tectonic subsidence. In more lateral parts, tectonic uplift is observed. Thus,  distinct local variations in tectonic movements have to be considered.

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