The Kaikos Valley follows one of the big east-west striking graben structures in Western Anatolia. It provides several geoarchaeological archives for Holocene landscape reconstruction, among them alluvial fans in the vicinity of the archaeological site of Atarneus. Radiocarbon dating shows that the fans developed during the Holocene. In this period landscape evolution in the Mediterranean was characterized by the transition from mainly natural to predominantly anthropogenic landscape changes. Therefore, the Holocene fans should reflect naturally controlled processes as well as anthropogenic influences. However, it is not easy to differentiate between these components.
The aim of the research is to separate naturally from anthropogenic controlled processes in alluvial fans, in particular around Atarneus. This ancient central place, situated on a volcanic butte, was one of the bigger cities along the Aegean coast during the Roman and Hellenistic times.
Drillings were conducted on the fans and macroscopic sediment characteristics were described directly in the field. Detailed geomorphological mapping in the surrounding of Atarneus allows the identification of fossile and recent landforms indicating the occurrence of accelarated soil erosion. Sedimentological analyses of the drilling cores show that in the fans colluvial and alluvial sediments interfinger with screed material. The development of the colluvial sediments is dated to approximately 2250 clap, which coincides with the heyday of Atarneus. We interpret this evidence as an indicator for accelerated soil erosion. Furthermore, this points to a change from more naturally controlled to predominantly anthropogenic controlled fan evolution.