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Halmyris: Geoarchaeology of a fluvial harbour along the Roman Danubian limes (Danube delta, Dobrogea, Romania)

Authors:

Abstract

In Northern Dobrogea, north of the Dunavăţ promontory, the Roman fortress of Halmyris was founded in the late 1st century on a Getae settlement dated back the middle of the 1st millennium BC. 8000 years ago, the area of the later Danube delta was a vast open marine bay. Since the end of the post-glacial marine transgression, the Danube delta has prograded and divided into several arms, first along the Dunavăţ promontory and then to the north and the south leading to the progressive retreat of the sea. The ancient fortress of Halmyris, the most eastern Roman fortification on the Danube, faces the St. George arm that has been the most active arm of the river during Antiquity. Our chronostratigraphic study was undertaken to: (i) understand landscape changes of the area of the latter Halmyris since ca. 7500 years BP, (ii) identify the fluvial environments close to the city in Roman times in order to locate and characterise the harbour. For this study, several cores were extracted from the Danube delta plain for palaeoenvironmental investigations. Here, we concentrate on the study of bio-sedimentological content of the core HAIII that shows a classic regressive sequence dominated by a marine environment at the base of the core, overlain by fluvial sediments. The progress of the delta front seaward led to the formation of a floodplain from the fifth millennium BC onwards. It was characterized by numerous lakes, attested in the core by large organic-rich peat layers. The Roman harbour was probably installed in a secondary channel of the St. George whose depth was at least 175 cm at the end of the 7th century.
Halmyris:*Geoarchaeology*of*a*fluvial*harbour*along*the*
Roman*Danubian limes*(Danube*delta,*Dobrogea,*Romania)
Matthieu*GIAIME1,Alexandra*BIVOLARU1,Christophe*MORHANGE1,*Nick*MARRINER2
International*Conference on*New$Te c h n ol o g i e s , $Hazards and$Geoarchaeology$Pa olo%Pirazzoli in%memo ria m
Athens,$3rd$November 2017$
1Aix-Marseille$Unive rsit é,$UM34,$ C NRS,$
CEREGE-UMR$ 7330,$Aix-en-Provence,$France
2CNRS,$Laboratoire$Chrono-Environnem ent $UMR$ 6249,$
Universit é $de $Fr anche -Comté,$Besançon,$ France$
National* Institute* of*Heritage National* Institute* of*Heritage
Romanescu et*al.*2015
Halmyris: Geoarchaeology of a fluvial harbour along the Roman Danubian limes (Danube delta, Dobrogea, Romania)
Matthieu Giaime1, Alexandra Bivolaru1, Christophe Morhange1and Nick Marriner2
(1) Aix-Marseille Université UM34,Centre Euroen de Recherches et d’Enseignement en osciences de l’ Environnement CNRS-UMR 7330,
Eurole de l’Arbois,13545,Aix-en-Provence, France.
(2) CNRS, Laboratoire Chrono-Environnement UMR 6249,MSHE Ledoux,USR 3124,Universitéde Bourgogne-Franche-Comté,UFR ST, 16
Route de Gray,25030 Besançon,France.
Abstract
In Northern Dobrogea, north of the Dunavăţ promontory, the Roman fortress of Halmyris was founded in the late 1st century on aGetae
settlement date d back the middle of the 1st millennium BC.8000 years ago, the area of the later Danube delta was avast open marine bay.Since
the end of the post-glacial marine transgression, the Danube delta has pro grade d and divided into several arms, first along the Dunavăţ
promontory and then to the north and the south leading to the progressive retreat of the sea.The ancient fortress of Halmyris,the most eastern
Roman fortification on the Danube, faces the St.George arm that has been the most active arm of the river during Antiquity.Our
chronostratigraphic study was undertaken to: (i) understand landscape change s of the area of the latter Halmyris since ca.7500 years BP, (ii)
ide ntify the fluvial environments close to the city in Roman times in order to locate and characterise the harbour.For this study, several core s were
extracted from the Danube delt a plain for palaeoenvironmental investigatio ns.Here, we concentrate on the study of bio-sedimentological content
of the core HAIII that shows aclassic regressive sequence dominated by amarine environment at the base of the core , overlain by fluvial
sediments.The progress of the delta front seaward led to the formation of afloodplain from the fifth millennium BC onwards.It was characterized
by numerous lakes, attested in the core by large organic-rich peat layers.The Roman harbour was probably installed in asecondary chan nel of the
St.George whose depth was at least 175 cm at the end of the 7th century.
Keywords:Black Sea, Danube delta, Saint-George, Halmyris, limes,fluvial harbour, ostracods, sedimentology, geoarchaeology, fluvial
geomorphology.
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