Human impact on Holocene sediment dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean – the example of the Roman harbour of Ephesus, Stock, et al
Anthropogenic impacts upon sediment processes have been oc- curring for several millennia. Especially with the beginning of a sedentary lifestyle and the practise of agriculture, sediment pro- cesses were directly affected by humans through soil erosion and floodplain deposition (Broothaerts et al., 2014; Lewin and Macklin, 2014). This period of strong and global human impacts on the environment especially since the Industrial Revolution has been called ‘the Anthropocene’ (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000; Crutzen, 2002; Steffen et al., 2007). Humans have become a geological factor. Their impact can be studied in many geo- bio-archives (e.g. floodplains, colluvial deposits, lakes, deltas, soils, ice caps; Dusar et al., 2011). However, there are many
discussions about the processes, the stratigraphy, the onset, the spatial scales of recorded impacts and hence its precise definition (Ehlers, 2008; Zalasiewicz et al., 2008, 2015; Brown et al., 2013a, 2013b; Lewin and Macklin, 2014). We follow those au- thors who take the term ‘Anthropocene’ in the widest possible sense: the period of strong human–environment interactions.
The impact of humans was already proven during the Neolithic period when small farming communities started to practise agriculture (Ruddiman and Thomson, 2001; Ruddiman et al., 2008; Ruddiman and Ellis, 2009; Derin, 2012; Lichter and Meriç, 2012; Foley et al., 2013; Anthony et al., 2014; Stock et al., 2015). However, by then, only some examples are known where extensive deforestation took place (Marriner et al., 2012; Kaniewski et al., 2013). Enhanced soil erosion has been observed
since the Bronze age with a larger population and agricultural ac- tivities (Zolitschka et al., 2003; Zalasiewicz et al., 2010; Dusar et al., 2011; Broothaerts et al., 2014; Lewin and Macklin, 2014; Wilkinson et al., 2014). Especially with a higher population den- sity during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, land-use changes and deforestation led to intensified erosion processes (Casana, 2008; Dusar et al., 2011; Broothaerts et al., 2014).
In the Mediterranean coastal areas, human–environment in- teractions have been studied intensively in the environs of ancient settlement sites and their harbours through a wide range of approaches. The investigations focused on landscape and coastline changes during the Holocene, often correlated to shoreline migration due to the advance of river deltas or the evolution of coastal barriers (e.g. Kraft et al., 2000; Brückner et al., 2002, 2006; Goiran et al., 2011; Bini et al., 2012; Flaux et al., 2013). Recently, ancient harbours have been investigated in detail with sedimentological, geochemical, macrofaunal and microfaunal analyses since they serve as sediment traps in an anthropogenic context (e.g. Frenzel and Boomer, 2005; Marriner and Morhange, 2006a, 2007; Bernasconi et al., 2010). Study sites include Alexandria (Bernasconi et al., 2006; Véron et al., 2006), Elaia (Seeliger et al., 2013; Pint et al., 2014), Ephesus (Kraft et al., 2000, 2007, 2011; Brückner, 2005; Brückner et al., 2008; Stock et al., 2013, 2014), Magdala
(Sarti et al., 2013), Marseille (Morhange et al., 2003; Le Roux et al., 2005), Miletus (Brückner et al., 2006, 2014, 2015), Luna (Bini et al., 2012), Portus (Mazzini et al., 2011; Salomon et al., 2012; Delile et al., 2014a, 2014b, 2014c), Sidon (Marriner et al., 2006), Troy (Kraft et al., 2003), Tyre (Marriner and Morhange, 2006b), Utica (Delile et al., 2015a), and İstanbul/Yenıkapı (Algan et al., 2011). For this paper, we used a multi-proxy approach by applying sedimentological, geo- chemical, palynological, parasitological, microfaunal and macrofaunal as well as archaeobotanical tools for deciphering the intensity of the human impact recorded in the harbour archive, and thus test the concept of the Anthropocene sensu lato for the Küçük Menderes graben and the Roman harbour of Ephesus.