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Western Mareotis lake(s) during the Late Holocene (4th century BCE–8th century CE): diachronic evolution in the western margin of the Nile Delta and evidence for the digging of a canal complex during the early Roman period

Abstract : Lake Mareotis (modern Mariut), located near the Mediterranean coast of Egypt west of the Nile Delta, is bordered by ancient sites dating from the New Kingdom (end of the 2nd millennium BCE) to the Medieval period (8th century CE), the most famous one being Alexandria. In its western part (wadi Mariut), several sites are equipped with harbour structures, but they also have structures contemporaneous with them that are not compatible with the lake level required for the operation of the harbour. Between the 1990s and 2010, several sedimentological studies tried to solve this paradox without completely succeeding. To go further, this study is based on the reassessment of geoarchaeological data and on the analysis of early scholars' accounts (1800–1945), maps (1807–1958) and satellite photographs (Corona). It allows us to reconstruct the extension of the lake(s) at different periods in wadi Mariut. During the 1st millennium BCE, the Mariut lagoon experienced a drawdown in its western part, and several distinct lakes formed, followed by building operations in some emerged areas during the Hellenistic period (332–30 BCE). During the early Roman period (30 BCE–284 CE), the digging of several canals in the 2nd century CE to connect the sites of the wadi Mariut to the eastern part of the Mariut basin reconfigured the lake(s).
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03123577
Contributor : Maël Crépy <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 9:25:28 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:19:28 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 6:18:39 PM

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Maël Crépy, Marie-Françoise Boussac. Western Mareotis lake(s) during the Late Holocene (4th century BCE–8th century CE): diachronic evolution in the western margin of the Nile Delta and evidence for the digging of a canal complex during the early Roman period. E&G Quaternary Science Journal, German Quaternary Association (DEUQUA), 2021, 70 (1), pp.39-52. ⟨10.5194/egqsj-70-39-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03123577⟩

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