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Coastal geoarchaeology of Kerkinitis (Northwestern Crimea)

Géoarchéologie littorale de Kerkinitis (Crimée nord‑occidentale)
Vadim A. Kutaisov and Tat’jana N. Smekalova
p. 79-89


The coastal landscape in of northwestern Crimea is characterized by numerous salt lakes (locally called limans) separated from the sea by sand barriers. The formation of the lakes was mostly induced by inundation of the lower reaches of fluvial valleys and trough-like kettle holes during the transgression of the Black Sea basin. Lake Sasyk-Sivash formed due to the simultaneous inundation of the coastal area and several radiating ravines (locally called balkas). The lake was possibly not completely separated from the sea during the ancient Greek period. This can explain the existence of six Chersonesean farmhouses and two ancient Greek vineyards on the remotest northern shore of the lake, which is furthest from the sea. Geological coring on the western margin of ancient Kerkinitis revealed lagoonal silts, at a depth of 1.6‑2.0 m. These indicate that the water level of the Black Sea basin near what is now Yevpatoriya was -2 m in the mid-1st millennium BC. The coastline in western Crimea might have been situated 50–100 m offshore from the present one.

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Index terms

Geographical index :

Crimea, Black sea
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Author's notes

These investigations received financial support from the grant # 33.1470.2017.PCh of the Ministry of Science and Education of Russian Federation.

Full text

1Northwestern Crimea occupies the area from Lake Bagayly, south of what is now the city of Yevpatoriya, to Lake Bakal and the coast of the Gulf of Karkinit in the north (Fig. 1). In terms of its geological structure, this region coincides with the so-called Tarkhankut Folded Heights of the North-Crimean steppe region. The limits of the latter are at the latitude of Bakal Spit in the north, to Chatyrlyk balka (gully) in the east, to the Outer Ridge of the Crimean Mountains in the south (Fig. 1). The ancient city of Kerkinitis was located on Cape Karantinny in the central area of Yevpatoriya Bay.

Fig. 1 – Geography of Crimea

Fig. 1 – Geography of Crimea

Created from a digital terrain model.

1 - The coastal lakes

2A characteristic feature of the coastal landscape in the northwestern Crimea is numerous salt lakes separated from the sea by sand barriers. They can be subdivided into two groups: the Yevpatorian group consisting of 14 lakes and the Tarkhankut group which comprises eight water basins (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 – Limans in northwestern Crimea shown on a satellite image of the peninsula

Fig. 2 – Limans in northwestern Crimea shown on a satellite image of the peninsula

Names of the lakes are presented in white color, names of archaeological sites - in dark gray color

3The largest lakes listed from south to north are Bagayly (Kichik-Bel or Kuntugan), Kyzyl-Yar, Saki (Fig. 3), Sasyk-Sivash (Fig. 4), Moynak Biyuk (Bolshoye or Large Maynakskoye) and Moynak Kuchuk Otar (Maloye Otar-Maynakskoye), the Bolshoye (Large) Yaly‑Maynak and Maloye (Small) Yaly-Maynak (Fig. 5), Terekly, Konrat, Airchi, Adzhi-Baichi, Oybur, Donuzlav, Sarygöl (Liman or Karadzha), Ak-Mechet, Sasyk (Panskoye), Yarylgach, Dzharylgach, Bakal (Bakalskoye) etc., in total 22 (Fig. 2) not counting the smaller ones (DZENS-LITOVSKIY, 1934; KURNAKOV et al., 1936; PONIZOVSKIY, 1965, 121 and 125; OLIFEROV and TIMCHENKO, 2005, 200‑202). The area of the bays and the lakes increased during the Holocene period linked to a rise in the Black Sea’s water level and a shift in the position and morphology of the sand barriers. The level of all the salt lakes is lower than the marine level, by 0.25 m in Lake Moynak and by up to 2.1 m in Lake Saki (PODGORODETSKIY, 1988, 181).

Fig. 3 – Saki liman

Fig. 3 – Saki liman

a: A satellite image taken on the 4th of May 2010; b: Map of silt deposits at Saki Lake – - Red-brown clay; 2 - shore clay; 3 - sand; 4 - reeds; 5 - a stratum of salt at the bottom of the lake; 6 - isolines of the depth of silts, drawn every 1 m; 7 - boreholes; 8 - hydrometeorological stations; 9 - observation wells; 10 - sea channels

Credits: a: Google Earth; b: After Dzens-Litovskiy, 1935.

Fig. 4 – Sasyk-Sivash liman

Fig. 4 – Sasyk-Sivash liman

a: The sand barriers of the lake; 1 - Limestone of the upper Sarmatian layer; 2 - limestone of the lower Maeotian layer; 3 - limestone of the upper Maeotian layer; 4 - limestone of the Pontic layer; 5 - red-brown clays; 6 - modern lake shore sediments; 7 - modern sand-gravel sediments at the sea shore; 8 - reeds; 9 - boreholes. b: Sasyk-Sivash Lake on a satellite image taken on the 5th of July 2014

Credits: a: After (Dzens-Litovskiy, 1938); b: Google Earth.

Fig. 5 – Moynaki lakes

Fig. 5 – Moynaki lakes

Google Earth satellite image taken on the 16th of September 2014.

4All the lakes on the western coast of Crimea are subdivided into three types: closed limans, lagoons and rias (drowned river valleys) (DZENS-LITOVSKIY, 1938). The latter are represented by a single example at Lake Donuzlav. A characteristic feature of closed limans is that their longer axis is almost always perpendicular to the coastline (Biyuk Otar-Moynak, Sasyk-Sivash, Kyzyl-Yar, Karadzha, Dzharylgach) (Fig. 2). By contrast, the lagoons lie behind sand barriers and trend lengthwise to the coastline (Terekly, Konrat, Airchi, Adzhi-Beychi, Oybur) (Fig. 2) (KURNAKOV et al., 1936; PONIZOVSKIY, 1965, 16). In the lakes similar in type to Terekly, Konrat and Oybur, a number of inlets stretch inland from the main basins.

5The formation of water basins was mostly induced by inundation of the lower reaches of fluvial valleys and trough-like kettles during the Holocene transgression of the Black Sea. These Crimean lakes are classified as closed limans with a considerable (seasonal) contribution streamflow. In addition, the maintenance of their level is essentially supported by infiltration of seawater through sand barriers and, to a lesser extent, through underground conduits (MOLODYH et al., 1984, 16 and 61). We suggest that it is better to consider the Crimean water basins as being closed limans without fluvial inputs. According to A. I. DZENS‑LITOVSKIY (1934, 1938) the present lakes comprised sea inlets and deep bays during the ancient Greek colonization. These were excellent havens for ship anchorages and fishing, which were later separated from the sea by sand spits.

6The sea bays during antiquity are characterized by silty deposits overlying marine sands (ZENKOVICH, 1960, 158). Possible examples of bays during the Greek period include the lakes of Kyzyl-Yar, Saki, Biyuk Otar-Moynak, Oybur and Donuzlav. Coastal stratigraphy indicates that the coastal sandbars were moving inland during the course of the sea transgression.

7Lake Sasyk-Sivash was formed by the simultaneous inundation of the coastal area of several balkas (Fig. 4). Perhaps, Lake Sasyk-Sivash, during the ancient Greek period, had not yet been completely separated from the sea, so that in its very northwestern corner there was a passage from the lake into the sea. In our opinion, this explains the existence of Chersonesean farmhouses and vineyards on the northern shore of the lake (KUTAISOV and SMEKALOVA, 2013, 136‑246; SMEKALOVA and KUTAISOV2014; BEVAN et al., 2016; LISETSKII et al., 2016). Presently, Lake Sasyk-Sivash is characterized by the following geographic parameters: area 71-75 km², the periphery of the lake is 100 km, the length of the sand barrier is 13 km with a width of between 0.9 to 1.62 km, the longest length and width of the water surface is 18 km, the maximum depth is 1.2 m (KURNAKOV et al., 1936, 22–24).

8For a long time it has been believed that the inland banks of Lake Sasyk-Sivash were unoccupied by the ancient Greeks thus constituting no part of the chorai of either Kerkinitis or Chersonesos (SCHEGLOV, 1978, Fig. 8). Doubts were raised when Sergey Yu. Vnukov discovered the Chersonesean settlement of Garshino in 1982 (Fig. 4,b) (YACENKO, 1984, 347). This site was located on the northern bank of a small liman feeding into Lake Sasyk-Sivash. As ceramic stamps suggest, this site was occupied from the last quarter of the 4th to the first third of the 3rd centuries BC (KOLESNIKOV, 1985, 8, 9, 13).

9The investigation of the eastern and northern shores of Lake Sasyk-Sivash was recently (2012–2014) resumed after a thirty-year long interruption. This research revealed five new Chersonesean farmhouses (Mamay‑Tjup, Ortli, Tjumen‑Chutor, Tjumen 1 and Tjumen 2 – see Fig. 4, b) and nearly two-dozen settlement sites dating from the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age and scattered throughout the balka catchment area of Lake Sasyk-Sivash (KUTAISOV and SMEKALOVA, 2013, 136-246).

10The exact date for the formation of this water basin (appearance of the sand-and-gravel spit) is, thus far, unclear. In the 1920-30s, Crimean lakes were subjected to multidisciplinary investigations involving scientific drilling of the bottom deposits and barriers. The most extensive boring in Lake Saki was conducted in the 1930s by A. I. DZENS‑LITOVSKIY (1938) (Fig. 3, b). He was the first who noted the differences between the structures of the Saki and Sasyk-Sivash barriers. These investigations were further continued by V. P. ZENKOVICH (1960) who proposed a scheme of evolution for the coasts between Yevpatoriya and Cape Lukull (Fig. 5). According to their research, the barrier of Lake Sasyk-Sivash is part of a single accumulative body that stretches from the barrier of Lake Kyzyl-Yar as far as Cape Karantinny in Yevpatoriya. There was once a second barrier parallel to the first one (see 3-4 in Fig. 6) in the water area of the lake – the so-called Promyslovaya Spit (Fig. 6) (ZENKOVICH, 1960, 182).

11According to the most recent data, the formation of Lake Saki, 3 km to the south, took place approximately 5,200 years BP whereas Lake Dzharylgach, situated considerably farther to the north, took place around 4,700 years BP (SUBETTO et al., 2009, 309-310). A comparison of the thicknesses of the liman sediments of the lakes Sasyk-Sivash and Saki demonstrates different dates for the formation of the barriers at these neighbouring lakes. In Lake Saki, a four-metre bed of the black liman ‘mud’ and a three-metre layer of salt were deposited, which relates to a partial disconnection from the sea, while in Lake Sasyk-Sivash such sediments are absent. Immediately above the bottom surface there are silts containing weathered rocks and even lagoonal mollusc shells. This essential difference indicates non-simultaneity of the complete separation of the two neighbouring bays (the distance between them does not exceed 4 km) from the sea (ZENKOVICH, 1960, 177‑178).

12Of note are the changes in the lake’s shoreline, which occurred recently due to an increase in the general groundwater level after the construction of the Saki branch of the North-Crimean Canal, which brought water from the Dnieper River to the Crimean steppes. Beginning in 1989, i.e. with the arrival of water from the Dnieper, the water level of Lake Sasyk-Sivash started to rise. This process was accentuated by the construction of a dam dividing the lake into a salty and a fresh-water part (Fig. 4, b). These factors led to the inundation of the lakeside areas. This fact is distinctly clear when comparing a satellite image taken in 2012 and the half-verst (versta - Old Russian length unit equal to 1066,8 m) map of 1897 (KUTAISOV and SMEKALOVA, 2013, 27, Fig. 3). The level of the lake has risen considerably compared with the late 19th century level. In 2014, when the North-Crimean canal was no longer supplied by water from the Dnieper, the reverse situation is observed – the lake gradually started to shrink and its level dropped.

13Nikolay F. Romanchenko was the first to suggest that Lake Bolshoye (Biyuk) Moynakskoye comprised a bay during Kerkinitis times and that the latter ancient settlement was actually situated on its shore (ROMANCHENKO, 1896, 227). However, subsequent archaeological research has shown that the Ancient Greek colony and its necropolis were located just under 3 km east of the water basin. Stratigraphic sections of the bottom sediments of the lake have shown that it was indeed a sea bay during the early stage of its formation (before the Greeks), as demonstrated by the presence of marine sand under the dark-grey and grey silts (SAGAYDACHNYY1936, 65-66, Figs. 5-7). Moreover, with the rise of the sea, the sand barrier moved towards the liman. The hypothesis of a bay here during antiquity is not supported by coring results from the barrier of Lake Biyuk-Moynak where silts of non-marine origin were found at depths of 2.5 to 5.2 m. In other words, the lake had already been separated from the sea for a long period of time and that there was no connection to the sea by an inlet. Like other lakes in the area, this one became a salted lake because of a hot and dry climate and high evaporation (DZENS-LITOVSKIY, 1934, Fig. 10).

14Further to the west, a similar reconstruction was proposed for the historical landscape of Lake Yaly-Moynak where the Greek/Scythian site of Chayka is situated (Fig. 5). According to Pavel M. Dolukhanov, the Greek fortification first appeared here on a rather long and low promontory protruding to the east (terrace 1.2‑1.5 m high) surrounded by the sea on three sides. When the sea level was lower, a shallow bay may have existed in the area occupied by the present lake. This bay was probably suitable for ships with a shallow draught (DOLUKHANOV, 1970, 99‑101). However, the solution to this problem can only be resolved through geological data.

15Alexander N. Shcheglov proposed a reconstruction of a small bay west of Kerkinitis that was used as the city’s port in antiquity. This bay might have been situated in the place of a shallow lake (Fig. 6) (SHCHEGLOV, 1978, 20, Fig. 5).

Fig. 6 – Shoreline evolution between Yevpatoriya and Cape Lucull

Fig. 6 – Shoreline evolution between Yevpatoriya and Cape Lucull

1 - Active cliff and landslides; 2 - stationary cliffs; 3 - bench; 4 - lithified sediments; 5 - sedimentary bars; 6 - directions of sediment flow; 7 - rock cliffs. Numbers “1” to “4” indicate the evolution of the shorelines from older to younger

After Zenkovich (1960).

16However, the inaccuracies of this palaeogeographic scenario were demonstrated in the course of geological boring at Cape Karantinny in 1980 and 1982. The cores (borehole nos. 16‑17) obtained from the western outskirts of the ancient city have demonstrated that deposits of the ancient Greek period overlie the dark‑purple silts characteristic of a closed freshwater basin (KUTAYSOV, 1988, 11, Fig. 3). Moreover, considering the arch of the modern Kalamita Bay (Fig. 1), the existence of a narrow promontory between what is now Yevpatoriya Bay and the above-mentioned reconstructed bay, formed by clayey sands in its upper reaches, seems improbable.

2 - The natural anchorages

17On the entire coastline, there were actually only four more or less conducive bays: Kalos Limen (Bay Ak-Mechet, now Bay Uzkaya) which perfectly matches its Greek name of the Beautiful Haven, and the bays of Yarylgach, Karadzha and Yevpatoriya (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7 – Dynamics and morphology of western Crimean coasts

Fig. 7 – Dynamics and morphology of western Crimean coasts

After Zenkovich (1960).

18The second of the bays enumerated is shallow; its geography differed considerably from its modern configuration when the sea level was lower. Bay Karadzha (Fig. 1), notwithstanding its important geographic position in the westernmost point of Crimea, has a fairly wide mouth meaning that it is exposed to storms (SAILING DIRECTIONS FOR THE BLACK SEA, 1867, 203). However, judging by the presence of one of the largest townsites of the northwestern Crimea on its northeastern shore (Karadzha ancient Greek fortified settlement) (Fig. 1) (KUTAISOV and SMEKALOVA, 2012), this bay completely satisfied the ancient navigators who employed ships with relatively shallow draught. Yevpatoriya bay is shallow, even today, and exposed to storms and winds. During the period when the level of the Black Sea was lower, this bay was still more open and unfit for the protection of ships in inclement conditions (POROTOV, 2007; BRÜCKNER et al., 2010; FOUACHE et al., 2012).

19In the area between Lake Donuzlav and Bay Yevpatoriya, the sandy coast forms a series of wide, open arches for a distance of 36 km (Fig. 7). The bedrocks (limestones of the Maeotic layer of the Quaternary period) are exposed on the sea bottom. The surface of the seaside plain is divided by broad flat ravines, in the coastal parts of which, lagoons and limans appeared. This area of the coast was the most favourable for ancient Greek settlements because of the maritime interface between them and Chersonesos.

20Cape Karantinny in the centre of modern Yevpatoriya can be considered as a typical dividing point not only on the coastline but also between the two tectonic zones subjected to movement in two opposite directions: the Alma syncline and the Tarkhankut Rise. This point also divides the direction of sea currents (Fig. 1) (GLUSHKOV, 1926, 182; KARBASNIKOV, 1926; BOZHICH, 1926). Their boundary is especially distinct on the bottom of Yevpatoriya Bay in the form of a sharp drop of limestones of the Maeotic layer, from 4.5 to 12-14 m (RUMMEL, 1899, Tab. 6‑7; ZENKOVICH, 1960, 166). East of Yevpatoriya the shoreline forms a gentle arch 24 km long linked to the coalescence of the sand barriers of three salt lakes: Sasyk-Sivash, Saki and Kyzyl-Yar (Fig. 8) (DZENS‑LITOVSKIY, 1933, 586; ZENKOVICH, 1960, 132‑134). The length of the spit of Sasyk‑Sivash Lake is 13 km, its width is 0.9‑1.62 km; the lengths and widths of Saki Lake are 3.3 and 0.4 km; those of Kyzyl‑Yar Lake are 2.26 and 0.17‑0.35 km (DZENS‑LITOVSKIY, 1935, 31; KURNAKOV et al., 1936, 22, 43, 66). It is probably over this beach that the ancient land road from Chersonesos ran to the remote seaside localities of the chora. This hypothesis is supported by traces of an ancient Greek sanctuary found on the barrier of Lake Saki (LANTSOV, 2003).

3 - Relative sea-level changes

21It is common opinion that, at least since 7500 BP, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea have been connected via the Bosphorus Strait. The Holocene sea-level history of the is still being widely discussed in the literature (see the detail review in the volume edited by V. YANKO‑HOMBACH et al., 2007). Traditional sea‑level curves from the Black Sea show numerous major and minor wiggles corresponding to regressive and transgressive phases over relatively short time periods. None of the Mediterranean curves shows the large number and the extent of the wiggles of the Black Sea curves. A possible solution was proposed by H. BRÜCKNER et al. (2010, 168): they used one of the most recent and reliable curves (BALABANOV2007) and only retained data from coastal and lagoon peats. Based on this procedure, the general trend of the curve is comparable with the one known for the Mediterranean (so-called type 2), which is characterized by a more or less continuously rising sea level, even since the mid-Holocene (BRÜCKNER et al., 2010, 168, Fig. 7). The authors also emphasized that the tectonic signal often overrides the eustatic contribution in both the Black and Azov seas. They concluded that only local sea‑level curves can be established (BRÜCKNER et al., 2010, 160).

22After examination of the archaeological and geomorphological evidence, Nikolay S. Blagovolin and Alexander N. Ščeglov defined the level of the Black Sea at the time of the foundation of Chersonesos in the 5th century BC as being 2-3 m below present (BLAGOVOLIN and ŠČEGLOV, 1968, 54). In the opinion of Peotr D. Podgorodetskiy, the level of the Black Sea in the 5th-2nd centuries BC was not more than 2 m below present (PODGORODETSKIY, 1994, 23).

23Relative sea-level changes in northwestern Crimea are spatially variable. The Tarkhankut Rise is subject to uplift while the flanking Alma and Karkinit depressions are sinking. Moreover, in Tarkhankut itself, the anticlines and synclines move in different directions. All these circumstances have affected the present-day position of archaeological sites. Thus the relative rise of the sea level has caused waterlogging of the lower layer of cultural deposits of the seaside Kerkinitis up to 1.7–1.8 m and erosion of the ancient settlements situated near the shore cliff (Masliny, Groty, Kalos-Limen, Tarpanchi, Dzhan-Baba, Kulchuk, Airchi) (Fig. 1). The settlement of Panskoye IV was discovered at a depth of 3.5 m on the bottom of the lake of the same name (see 1 in Fig. 1). Moreover, at least 2 hectares of the western section of the settlement-site of Panskoye I have sunk into this water basin. Hence, in the 4th century BC, the water level in the lake was at least 4-5 m lower than the present one. This can be explained by the active submersion of the Dzharylgach syncline, which includes Lake Panskoye as its seaside zone (BLAGOVOLIN and ŠČEGLOV, 2002). The level of the Black Sea near the shores of western Crimea was at least 4 m lower in the ancient period than the present-day one (SHCHEGLOV, 1978, 17).

24Kerkinitis, according to Peotr D. Podgorodetskiy, is located upon a stable positive geological structure thus enabling us to determine the direction, velocity and duration of the eustatic oscillations in the Black Sea basin (PODGORODETSKIY, 1994, 16). Geological boring at the western margin of this ancient Greek city revealed, at a depth of 1.6‑2.0 m above the ground-water level, purple‑grey viscous silts deposited on the bottom of a small lake found next to the archaeological site. These silts were covered by the ancient cultural layer and hence were synchronous with the occupation of the ancient Greek settlement-site in the 5th-4th centuries BC. Thus, these silty sediments roughly indicate the water level of the Black-Sea basin near what is now Yevpatoriya in the mid‑1st millennium BC as being roughly -2 m relative to the present one (KUTAISOV, 1988, 11).

25At a distance of 20‑30  m from the seashore, and at a depth of 1.5 m, directly opposite the site, beds of limestone were found on the sea bottom (KARBASNIKOV, 1926, 185). Apparently this rock layer is the edge of a limestone terrace that was part of the urban area of Kerkinitis. A very similar situation is observed in Bay Ak-Mechet. Here, at a distance of 25‑50 m from the modern coastal cliff (the western edge of Kalos Limen) and at a depth of 1.5‑1.75 m, a flooded terrace is located which, in all probability, was the shoreline of the bay during the late Classic and Hellenistic periods because all the building remains destroyed by the sea surf stretch towards the haven (UZHENTSEV, 2006, 17). The ruins of the northeastern corner tower of the settlement of Masliny, on the shore of Gulf Karkinit, are located at a depth of 1.5 m (LATYSHEVA, 1985, 101). The remains of the ancient Greek settlement of Khutorok (7 in Fig. 1) of the 4th‑3rd century BC are found at a depth of 3 m and up to 70 m from the present-day shore. They are marked by fragments of ceramic containers and tiles, and large limestone blocks (KUTAISOV and SMEKALOVA, 2013, 138). The relative rise in the level of the Black Sea is attested by waterlogging of ancient wells in the tower of Belyaus and on the shore of the bay at Bolshoy Kastel (recent observations by the authors).

26The determination of the sea levels in antiquity is indispensible to reconstruct the ancient shoreline and hence elucidate the configuration and dimensions of ancient Greek and late Scythian settlements. From Lake Kyzyl-Yar as far as Lake Donuzlav, the coast is of an accumulative type. Notwithstanding the transgression of the Black Sea basin, the land advances seawards due to the intensive flush of the sand-and-gravel deposits. This is confirmed by the so-called ‘dead’ cliffs (i.e. precipices receded from the water’s edge) at the site of Kara-Tobe and simultaneous formation of a clayey bench opposite them (ZENKOVICH, 1960, 169).

27The western extremity of Kalos Limen, as mentioned above, was 25-50 m from the present-day water’s edge, while near Kerkinitis, at a distance of 20-30 m from the modern shore and at a depth of 1.5 m, beds of limestone were found. The building remains of the ancient Greek period, first of all the defensive walls, in order to be protected against scouring by waves, especially during the rough autumnal and winter storms, had to be built at some distance from the shoreline (at least 20‑30 m, or perhaps, considerably farther). Hence, the shoreline might have been situated 50‑100 m from the present one. A greater distance (1 km or more) seems unlikely because one of the main conditions for the foundation of ancient Hellenic settlements involved their proximity to water communications.


28In the Eastern Crimea and Western coast of Ukraine, there are a small number of sandy barriers that have only been preserved in the inner part of semi-isolated gulfs and limans (e.g. the Gulf of Taman, Kerch strait, Bug liman etc.) (Porotov, 2007). Unfortunately, such coastal archives are not widespread in these areas. Western Crimea is replete with material for the reconstruction of ancient coastlines, such as buried beach ridges beneath younger coastal sediments. A large number of western Crimean coastal lakes, which were formed during different periods, provide important geomorphological indicators for the history of the shorelines.

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List of illustrations

Title Fig. 1 – Geography of Crimea
Credits Created from a digital terrain model.
File image/jpeg, 228k
Title Fig. 2 – Limans in northwestern Crimea shown on a satellite image of the peninsula
Caption Names of the lakes are presented in white color, names of archaeological sites - in dark gray color
File image/jpeg, 792k
Title Fig. 3 – Saki liman
Caption a: A satellite image taken on the 4th of May 2010; b: Map of silt deposits at Saki Lake – - Red-brown clay; 2 - shore clay; 3 - sand; 4 - reeds; 5 - a stratum of salt at the bottom of the lake; 6 - isolines of the depth of silts, drawn every 1 m; 7 - boreholes; 8 - hydrometeorological stations; 9 - observation wells; 10 - sea channels
File image/jpeg, 1.1M
Title Fig. 4 – Sasyk-Sivash liman
Caption a: The sand barriers of the lake; 1 - Limestone of the upper Sarmatian layer; 2 - limestone of the lower Maeotian layer; 3 - limestone of the upper Maeotian layer; 4 - limestone of the Pontic layer; 5 - red-brown clays; 6 - modern lake shore sediments; 7 - modern sand-gravel sediments at the sea shore; 8 - reeds; 9 - boreholes. b: Sasyk-Sivash Lake on a satellite image taken on the 5th of July 2014
File image/jpeg, 1.0M
Title Fig. 5 – Moynaki lakes
Credits Google Earth satellite image taken on the 16th of September 2014.
File image/jpeg, 464k
Title Fig. 6 – Shoreline evolution between Yevpatoriya and Cape Lucull
Caption 1 - Active cliff and landslides; 2 - stationary cliffs; 3 - bench; 4 - lithified sediments; 5 - sedimentary bars; 6 - directions of sediment flow; 7 - rock cliffs. Numbers “1” to “4” indicate the evolution of the shorelines from older to younger
Credits After Zenkovich (1960).
File image/jpeg, 396k
Title Fig. 7 – Dynamics and morphology of western Crimean coasts
Credits After Zenkovich (1960).
File image/jpeg, 567k
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Bibliographical reference

Vadim A. Kutaisov and Tat’jana N. Smekalova, « Coastal geoarchaeology of Kerkinitis (Northwestern Crimea) », Méditerranée, 126 | 2016, 79-89.

Electronic reference

Vadim A. Kutaisov and Tat’jana N. Smekalova, « Coastal geoarchaeology of Kerkinitis (Northwestern Crimea) », Méditerranée [Online], 126 | 2016, Online since 01 January 2018, connection on 20 August 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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About the authors

Vadim A. Kutaisov

Institute of Archaeology of Crimea of Russian Academy of Science, Simferopol, Crimea,

Tat’jana N. Smekalova

National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”, Moscow, Russia; Crimean Federal University, Simferopol, Crimea,

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