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Late Quaternary coastal landscape morphology and evolution of the Maltese Islands (Mediterranean Sea) reconstructed from high-resolution seafloor data

By
Federica Foglini
Federica Foglini
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
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Mariacristina Prampolini
Mariacristina Prampolini
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, ItalyUniversity of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, Via Campi 103, 41125 Modena, Italy
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Aaron Micallef
Aaron Micallef
University of Malta, Department of Geosciences, Msida, MSD 2080, Malta
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Lorenzo Angeletti
Lorenzo Angeletti
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
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Vittoria Vandelli
Vittoria Vandelli
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, Via Campi 103, 41125 Modena, Italy
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Alan Deidun
Alan Deidun
University of Malta, Department of Geosciences, Msida, MSD 2080, Malta
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Mauro Soldati
Mauro Soldati
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, Via Campi 103, 41125 Modena, Italy
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Marco Taviani
Marco Taviani
National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
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Published:
January 01, 2016

Abstract

The current strong motivation to explore those traces of the archaeological and prehistoric human heritage that presently lie submerged on the continental shelf requires large-scale and precise underwater mapping. One Mediterranean sector deserving particular attention is the Sicily Channel, which is critical for a better understanding of the Africa–Europe migratory routes and early civilization patterns due to its large expanses of shallow seabed that were partially or totally exposed at times of lower relative sea levels. We have focused our attention on the submerged continental margin of the Maltese archipelago. A detailed bathymetric map is here presented, and is discussed in terms of features interpretable as former subaerial landforms and inundated by sea-level rise following the Last Glacial Maximum lowstand at approximately –130 m. Our datasets combine multibeam surveys, Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital terrain models (DTMs), Chirp sub-bottom profiler records and bottom samples acquired between 2009 and 2012. The main features identified are former river incisions, alluvial plains, karst landscapes (sinkholes, limestone plateaus), slide deposits and palaeoshorelines. This study provides a detailed topographical reconstruction of the palaeolandscape of this key region that is relevant to any future archaeological exploration of the Maltese offshore area.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Geology and Archaeology: Submerged Landscapes of the Continental Shelf

J. Harff
J. Harff
University of Szczecin, Poland
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G. Bailey
G. Bailey
University of York, UK
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F. Lüth
F. Lüth
German Archaeological Institute, Germany
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Geological Society of London
Volume
411
ISBN electronic:
9781862396999
Publication date:
January 01, 2016

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