Coastal Change and Archaeological Settings in Elis

by John C. Kraft, George Rapp, John A. Gifford, and Stanley E. Aschenbrenner

Hesperia, Volume 74, Issue 1
Page(s): 1-39
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25067945
Year: 2005


Since the mid-Holocene epoch, sediments from the Alpheios River in Elis, in the western Peloponnese, have been entrained in littoral currents and deposited to form barriers, coastal lagoons, and peripheral marshes. Three major surges of sediment formed a series of barrier-island chains. The sites of Kleidhi (ancient Arene), along a former strategic pass by the sea, and Epitalion (Homeric Thryon), built on a headland at the mouth of the Alpheios River, now lie 1 and 5 km inland, respectively, and other ancient sites have been similarly affected. Diversion of the Peneus River has led to cycles of delta progradation and retrogradation that have both buried and eroded archaeological sites. Coastal changes continue in Elis today, resulting in areas of both erosion and deposition.