Reference : Evolution of the palaeoenvironment of the Medjerda delta (Tunisia) and geoarchaeology...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Earth sciences & physical geography
Arts & humanities : Archaeology
Evolution of the palaeoenvironment of the Medjerda delta (Tunisia) and geoarchaeology of the ancient city of Utica
Pleuger, Elisa mailto [Université de Liège > Département de géologie > Argiles, géochimie et environnements sédimentaires >]
Abichou, Hakim []
Gadhoum, Ahmed []
Goiran, Jean-Philippe []
Quinn, Josephine []
Fentress, Elizabeth []
Wilson, Andrew []
Ben Jerbania, Imed []
Fagel, Nathalie mailto [Université de Liège > Département de géologie > Argiles, géochimie et environnements sédimentaires >]
5th international Geologica Belgica Meeting
du 26 janvier 2016 au 29 janvier 2016
Geologica Belgica
[en] geoarchaeology ; Utica ; ancient harbour ; palaeoenvironment ; Medjerda ; delta ; Tunisia
[en] Phoenician Utica remains today largely unknown, as is its role in the Phoenician expansion in the western Mediterranean. Aristotle and Pliny the Elder mention Utica as a maritime and port city and estimate its origin around the 11th c. BC. However, in the present state of research, no archaeological evidence is earlier than the 9th c. BC, and the location of the Phoenician and Roman port infrastructures remains unknown. Today, the ancient city is located on a promontory in the heart of the Medjerda delta, 10 km inland.

This project proposes an interdisciplinary effort to understand the Medjerda delta landscape changes during the Holocene. It starts from an archaeological problem and proposes the contribution of geoarchaeology to the understanding of the relationship between ancient societies and their environment. The fluvial palaeoenvironments and sedimentary processes are studied through the mechanical extraction of cores (15-20 m deep) to reach the early Holocene. Selected sediment samples are then studied in laboratory, using different and complementary approaches.

The location of port infrastructures will bring initial answers to the question of the foundation of the city. The study of river palaeoenvironments of the Medjerda delta during the Holocene aim at a better understanding of the nature of the settlement, as well as the function of the city of Utica over time. This study will also assess the impact of the ancient city on the environment and understand how the city adapted to the mobility of this Mediterranean delta. Furthermore, the analysis of sedimentary processes causing the filling of the harbour basin will lead to speculation about the causes of the abandonment of the structures and more generally the decline of the city in favor of Carthage. It will also examine whether natural or anthropogenic factors have influenced this deltaic progradation over the centuries.

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