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  • Articles  (924)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2021-04-08
    Description: 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.
    Print ISSN: 0424-7116
    Electronic ISSN: 2199-9090
    Topics: Geosciences , History
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of Deutsche Quartärvereinigung.
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2021-02-22
    Description: No environmental factor has been as critically important for Egypt's ancient society through time as sufficiently high annual flood levels of the Nile River, the country's major source of fresh water. However, interpretation of core analysis shows reduced depositional accumulation rates and altered compositional attributes of the sediment facies deposited seaward of the Nile Delta during a relatively brief period in the late third millennium BCE. These changes record the effects of displaced climatic belts, decreased rainfall, lower Nile flows, and modified oceanographic conditions offshore in the Levantine Basin, primarily from 2300 to 2000 BCE, taking place at the same time as important geological changes identified by study of cores collected in the Nile Delta. It turns out that integrated multi-disciplinary Earth science and archaeological approaches at dated sites serve to further determine when and how such significant changing environmental events had negative effects in both offshore and landward areas. This study indicates these major climatically induced effects prevailed concurrently offshore and in Nile Delta sites and at about the time Egypt abandoned the Old Kingdom's former political system and also experienced fragmentation of its centralized state. In response, the country's population would have experienced diminished agricultural production leading to altered societal, political, and economic pressures during the late Old Kingdom to First Intermediate Period at ca. 2200 to 2050 BCE.
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    Electronic ISSN: 2199-9090
    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2021-01-26
    Description: The Butic Canal – a Roman period transversal route across the northern Nile Delta – was the longest artificial watercourse in the Nile Delta, yet it remains very poorly understood. To date, the canal has not yet been verified by archeological excavations. The route of the eastern section of the canal has been indirectly identified based on a linear elevated feature most likely representing earth from the excavation of the canal. This study combines the analysis of historical sources and remote sensing data, such as satellite imagery and the TanDEM-X digital elevation model, in order to discuss its date of construction, route, and functions. Based on the data of the digital elevation model, new constructional features are visible in the eastern delta providing the first detailed route of a Roman-era artificial watercourse in Egypt. It is suggested that the canal's construction is placed in the context of imperial investments in the infrastructure of the eastern part of the Roman empire.
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    Electronic ISSN: 2199-9090
    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2021-01-15
    Description: Having control over the landscape played an important role in the geography and economy of Egypt from the predynastic period onwards. Especially from the beginning of the Old Kingdom, we have evidence that kings created new places (funerary domains) called (centers) and (Ezbah) for the equipment of the building projects of the royal tomb and the funerary cult of the king, as well as to ensure the eternal life of both kings and individuals. Kings used these localities in order to do so, and they oftentimes expanded the border of an existing nome and created new establishments. Consequently, these establishments were united or divided into new nomes. The paper discusses the geography of Lower Egypt and the associated royal domains in the early Fifth Dynasty based on the new discoveries from the causeway of Sahura at Abusir.
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    Electronic ISSN: 2199-9090
    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2021-01-12
    Description: This study uses an integrated multi-method geoarcheological and geochronological approach to contribute to the understanding of the timing and stratigraphy of the monumental burial mound royal tomb (Königsgrab) of Seddin. We show that the hitherto established radiocarbon-based terminus post quem time frame for the construction of the burial mound of 910–800 BCE is supported by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. The radiocarbon samples were obtained from a substrate directly underneath the burial mound which supposedly represents the late glacial/Holocene soil that was buried below the structure. We use sedimentological (grain-size analyses) and geochemical analyses (element analyses, carbon, pH, and electric conductivity determinations) to reassess and confirm this hypothesis. In addition to the burial age associated with the last anthropogenic reworking during construction of the burial mound, the OSL dating results provide new insights into the primary deposition history of the original substrates used for the structure. In combination with regional information about the middle and late Quaternary development of the environment, our data allow us to provide a synoptic genetic model of the landscape development and the multiphase stratigraphy of the royal tomb of Seddin within the Late Bronze Age cultural group “Seddiner Gruppe” of northern Germany. Based on our initial experiences with OSL dating applied to the sediments of a burial mound – to the best of our knowledge the first attempt in Europe – we propose a minimal invasive approach to obtain datable material from burial mounds and discuss related opportunities and challenges.
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2021-01-06
    Print ISSN: 0424-7116
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2020-12-14
    Description: During the last decades, rivers and their deposits in different regions were intensively studied to better understand the late-Quaternary landscape evolution and former human activities. One proxy for paleoecological and paleoclimatic reconstructions is the analysis of gastropods (snails) from carbonatic river sediments. In the scope of this study, we investigated gastropod assemblages from a Holocene fluvial sediment–paleosol sequence at the upper Alazani River in the southeastern Caucasus. On the one hand, we aimed to derive reliable independent information about possible long-lasting human activity since the late Neolithic–Chalcolithic in the upper Alazani floodplain. This was formerly suggested by n-alkane biomarker vegetation reconstructions from the fluvial sediments. However, the reliability of that method is still debated. On the other hand, we aimed to obtain reliable information about a formerly suggested, possibly tectonic-driven, large-scale shift of the river course during the Late Holocene. In agreement with the n-alkane biomarkers, our results demonstrate that the studied site was free of the natural forests during the Early and Middle Holocene until ca. 4.5 cal kyr BP. Since this contrasts with a pollen-based vegetation reconstruction from a neighboring floodplain that was covered with forests during that time, the open vegetation in the upper Alazani valley was probably caused by continuous settlement activity as is also indicated by archeological finds in the sequence. Therefore, using our paleoecological proxies it is possible that we identified a settlement center in the upper Alazani floodplain that was populated from the late Neolithic–Chalcolithic. This center was not known thus far, since the settlement remains are covered by thick floodloam today that hindered their detection during archeological surface surveys. Therefore, our findings suggest that the area in the southern Caucasus region that was settled during the late-Neolithic–Chalcolithic period should have been larger than was known thus far. Furthermore, increasing contributions of wetland gastropods since ca. 4 cal kyr BP confirm a local shift of the river course towards the investigated site during the Late Holocene, possibly linked with ongoing tectonic activity. However, in contrast to former suggestions our gastropod assemblages indicate a slow rather than abrupt process. Our study demonstrates the high value of gastropod assemblages for geoarcheological and geomorphological research in floodplains with carbonatic river sediments at both a regional and local spatial scale.
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2020-12-09
    Description: The contribution highlights the use of Landsat spectral-temporal metrics (STMs) for the detection of surface anomalies that are potentially related to buried near-surface paleogeomorphological deposits in the Nile Delta (Egypt), in particular for a buried river branch close to Buto. The processing was completed in the Google Earth Engine (GEE) for the entire Nile Delta and for selected seasons of the year (summer/winter) using Landsat data from 1985 to 2019. We derived the STMs of the tasseled cap transformation (TC), the Normalized Difference Wetness Index (NDWI), and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). These features were compared to historical topographic maps of the Survey of Egypt, CORONA imagery, the digital elevation model of the TanDEM-X mission, and modern high-resolution satellite imagery. The results suggest that the extent of channels is best revealed when differencing the median NDWI between summer (July/August) and winter (January/February) seasons (ΔNDWI). The observed difference is likely due to lower soil/plant moisture during summer, which is potentially caused by coarser-grained deposits and the morphology of the former levee. Similar anomalies were found in the immediate surroundings of several Pleistocene sand hills (“geziras”) and settlement mounds (“tells”) of the eastern delta, which allowed some mapping of the potential near-surface continuation. Such anomalies were not observed for the surroundings of tells of the western Nile Delta. Additional linear and meandering ΔNDWI anomalies were found in the eastern Nile Delta in the immediate surroundings of the ancient site of Bubastis (Tell Basta), as well as several kilometers north of Zagazig. These anomalies might indicate former courses of Nile river branches. However, the ΔNDWI does not provide an unambiguous delineation.
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2020-10-30
    Description: We propose a new concept of the Weichselian ice dynamics in the south-western sector of the Baltic Sea depression. The review of existing geochronological data from Germany, Denmark and southernmost Sweden in combination with new optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) data from the German Oder Lobe area is the basis for a reassessment and an improvement of previous ice dynamic models. Factors like the pre-existing topography, glaciotectonic features and the occurrence of till beds and inter-till deposits of varying origin are also taken into consideration for our process-based reconstruction of the sedimentary environments close to the ice margin and hence the ice dynamics of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS). During the early MIS 3 (marine isotope stage), the late MIS 3 and MIS 2, the SIS advanced into present-day terrestrial areas around the south-western Baltic Sea Basin. The first ice advance during the warming phase in early MIS 3 is poorly documented as the Ellund–Warnow Advance in Germany but may be correlated with the numerically dated Ristinge Advance in Denmark and Sweden. The late MIS 3 advance in contrast is reliably documented. It shaped the landforms of the Brandenburg Advance and the maximum Weichselian ice extent in the Oder Lobe area in north-eastern Germany and occurred contemporaneously with the Klintholm Advance in southern Sweden and Denmark. The lack of a corresponding till in various cliff profiles along the Baltic Sea coastline between southern Schleswig-Holstein and the island of Rügen can be explained by the distinct lobate structure of this ice advance, which was strongly guided by the pre-existing low-lying topography. We propose the horst of Bornholm, Denmark, acting as an ice divide, with ice-dammed lakes existing on the lee side between two glacier lobes. This lobate structure had not been considered in previous conceptual models, which led to seemingly conflicting chronological and stratigraphical interpretations. Our introduction of the lobate structure for the first time resolves these contradictions and integrates the data in a coherent model. The dynamics of the MIS 2 readvance to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) extent were clearly different to the previous advance and were most likely characterized by a more uniformly advancing ice front with a less lobate structure which also overrode the horst of Bornholm and the island of Rügen. This advance reached the maximum Weichselian ice extent in some parts of the south-western SIS, but, in the Oder Lobe area, it is proven to have terminated at a lesser extent than the early MIS 3 advance, but it did shape the most prominent morphological landform record of the last glacial cycle. In order to advance the reconstruction of Weichselian ice dynamics in the future, we strongly suggest using both an MIS-based terminology and a process-based approach in the interpretation of geochronological data to live up to the dynamic nature of continental ice sheets.
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2020-10-21
    Description: The finding of a partially preserved elk skeleton from the Bavarian Alps is reported. Remnants of an adult male were found, together with skeletal elements of juvenile moose calves, at the base of a talus cone in the pit cave Stiefelschacht, next to Lenggries (southern Germany). The adult's bones exhibited anthropogenic traces like cut marks and were radiocarbon-dated to the Late Iron Age. A projectile hole in the left shoulder blade and cut marks on the bones are indicative of hunting and meat usage. The elk remains were associated with several wild and domestic species such as ungulates and hare but were not, however, accompanied by archaeological artefacts. Other archaeological sites of the Late Iron Age are so far not known within a distance of less than 30 km to the Stiefelschacht. While the presence of elk during prehistoric times in the Alps has already been known before, the finds and the location are unique in that they are the first evidence of elk hunting during the Late Iron Age in the northern Alps.
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    Topics: Geosciences , History
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