Holocene coastal change in the ancient harbor of Yenikapı-İstanbul and its impact on cultural history
An extensive rescue excavation has been conducted in the ancient harbor of İstanbul (Yenikapı) by the Sea of Marmara, revealing a depositional sequence displaying clear evidence of transgression and coastal progradation during the Holocene. The basal layer of this sequence lies at 6 m below the present sea level and contains remains of a Neolithic settlement known to have been present in the area, indicating that the sea level at ~ 8-9 cal ka BP was lower than 6 m below present. Sea level advanced to its maximum at ~ 6.8-7 cal ka BP, drowning Lykos Stream and forming an inlet at its mouth. After ~ 3 cal ka BP, coastal progradation became evident. Subsequent construction of the Byzantine Harbor (Theodosius; 4th century AD) created a restricted small basin and accumulation of fine-grained sediments. The sedimentation rate was increased due to coastal progradation and anthropogenic factors during the deposition of coarse-grained sediments at the upper parts of the sequence (7th-9th centuries AD). The harbor was probably abandoned after the 11th century AD by filling up with Lykos Stream detritus and continued seaward migration of the coastline.