Sea-level change during the Holocene in Sardinia and in the northeastern Adriatic (central Mediterranean Sea) from archaeological and geomorphological data
We provide new data on relative sea-level change from the late Holocene for two locations in the central Mediterranean: Sardinia and NE Adriatico. They are based on precise measures of submerged archaeological and tide notch markers that are good indicators of past sea-level elevation. Twelve submerged archaeological sites were studied: six, aged between 2.5 and 1.6 ka BP, located along the Sardinia coast, and a further six, dated ∼2.0 ka BP, located along the NE Adriatic coast (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia). For Sardinia, we also use beach rock and core data that can be related to Holocene sea level. The elevations of selected significant archaeological markers were measured with respect to the present sea level, applying corrections for tide and atmospheric pressure values at the time of surveys. The interpretation of the functional heights related to sea level at the time of their construction provides data on the relative changes between land and sea; these data are compared with predictions derived from a new glacio-hydro-isostatic model associated with the Last Glacial cycle. Sardinia is tectonically relatively stable and we use the sea-level data from this island to calibrate our models for eustatic and glacio-hydro-isostatic change. The results are consistent with those from another tectonically stable site, the Versilia Plain of Italy. The northeast Adriatic (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) is an area of subsidence and we use the calibrated model results to separate out the isostatic from the tectonic contributions. This indicates that the Adriatic coast from the Gulf of Trieste to the southern end of Istria has tectonically subsided by ∼1.5 m since Roman times.