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Geomorphological study and paleogeographic evolution of NW Kefalonia Island, Greece, concerning the hypothesis of a possible location of the Homeric Ithaca

By
Kalliopi Gaki-Papanastassiou
Kalliopi Gaki-Papanastassiou
Department of Geography and Climatology, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, University of Athens, GR-15784, Athens, Greece
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Hampik Maroukian
Hampik Maroukian
Department of Geography and Climatology, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, University of Athens, GR-15784, Athens, Greece
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Efthimios Karymbalis
Efthimios Karymbalis
Department of Geography, Harokopio University, 70 E. Venizelou Str., GR-17671, Athens, Greece
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Dimitris Papanastassiou
Dimitris Papanastassiou
Institute of Geodynamics, National Observatory of Athens, GR-11810, Athens, Greece
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Published:
April 2011

In the past two centuries, several researchers, based on different interpretations of the Homeric poems, have proposed that the ancient homeland of Odysseus may not have been the present Ithaca Island in the Ionian Sea but somewhere else. Among them, there is the opinion that the Homeric Ithaca was the western part of Kefalonia Island, the Paliki peninsula, separated at that time from the main island by a channel.

The aim of this study is to verify, based on geological and geomorphological field observations, the existence of the proposed “channel” during the Homeric era, and its filling by a series of landslides originating from the eastern mountains, and to determine the paleogeographic evolution of the study area in the late Holocene. Detailed geological and geomorphological mapping was performed focusing on different landforms of fluvial origin, slope changes, planation and depositional surfaces, karst features, mass wasting features, and faults. Topographic diagrams and maps, aerial photographs, and satellite images were used, accompanied by extensive fieldwork. For the geological mapping, field observations were combined with previous works. A spatial database derived from the aforementioned material and work was constructed using geographic information system (GIS) techniques. A digital terrain model (DTM) of the study region was also created.

All the geological and geomorphological evidence refutes the hypothesis for the existence of a channel in NW Kefalonia. Moreover, there is a serious discordance in the time period needed for the formation and evolution of the landscape, considering the rock type and the Mediterranean climate of the area.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Geoarchaeology, Climate Change, and Sustainability

Edited by
Antony G. Brown
Antony G. Brown
Palaeoecology Laboratory University of Southampton (PLUS), School of Geography, University of Southampton, UK
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Laura S. Basell
Laura S. Basell
Palaeoecology Laboratory University of Southampton (PLUS), School of Geography, University of Southampton, UK
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Karl W. Butzer
Karl W. Butzer
Department of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
476
ISBN print:
9780813724768
Publication date:
2011

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