An 8th century CE earthquake severely damaged inland cities across the southern-central Levant, but reported evidence of this earthquake along the coastline is scarce. In Caesarea Maritima, archaeologists have found contemporaneous anomalous sand and shelly layers within nearshore structures and interpreted them as construction fill, aeolian accumulation, or abandonment debris. Recently, similar sand deposits were exposed in a Roman-to-Islamic harbor-side warehouse. This presented the first opportunity to directly sample and systematically analyze in situ, undisturbed deposits in order to determine their origin and taphonomic (source and transport) history. Two sediment cores from the deposit as well as comparative reference samples from defined contexts were analyzed for grain size distribution, foraminifera (abundance/taphonomy), and relative age (POSL, archaeochronology). The results support the interpretation that the deposit was formed from the transport of offshore marine sediments during a high-energy inundation event, most likely a tsunami associated with the 749 CE earthquake.
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- 749 CE earthquake
- Caesarea Maritima