Abstract

Eight ancient water wells, representing the late Bronze Age to the Crusades period (ca. 3100–700 B.P.), have recently been excavated (six by the authors) and reopened at archaeological sites (tels) along the southern and central Mediterranean coast of Israel. Evidence of ancient freshwater levels directly reflects on possible neotectonics of the region and on eustatic changes of sea level. There is substantial disagreement about the tectonic stability of the Israel Mediterranean coastal region during the past 3500 yr, whether there was a large-magnitude tectonic event (one of the largest known for recent times) during the period in discussion or whether the region was tectonically quiet. We tested the instability hypothesis by using geoarchaeological data from the wells and found no evidence for significant tectonic deformation of the central and southern Israel coast in the past 3100 yr. The “ancient water-well” method can, with appropriate modifications, be used all around the Mediterranean and other coasts elsewhere in the world where ground-water-sea-level relations are alike.

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