Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Easier said than done to get a good map of Salamis battle area.
How reliable is this  re. 480BC ?
 1) Sea level changes. Oft-quoted figure is a relative sea-level rise of 1 fathom since 'antiquity'. As a geologist I am aware this is a debateable figure. Greece is a tectonically active part of the world which means we have to add rising or sinking land-masses.
One calculation of eustatic sea level change - Salamis in red
The site of the battle of Marathon, for example, should by rights, be flooded by now according to the eustatic sea-level change curve ( a kind of base-line for world sea-level changes). BUT because the land has been pushed up at about the same rate then the coastal situation remains similar to what it was 2500 years ago...REF. This means we can never know the exact coastline from 480BC but we must try to get an idea..
Did the sea come up or the land go down ?
2) Human activity in this area where the Greek navy has its main base, there has been unbridled summer-house development and where the recently greatest maritime nation has its main port is unbelievable. One island - Psyttaleia - has become Europe's largest sewage treatment plant and the mainland coastline is obscured by reclaimed ground.

One thing that can be said is that the sea-level change is not catastrophic. A breakwater from antiquity by the ancient Salamis port in Amboulaki bay is still visible in the water rather than high and dry or a long way off the shore-line.

Just to be cruel, the gods have given us a different alphabet from the Greeks so simple web  searches also become more problematic.

Maritime charts are a good and accurate bet, adding depth date - but also including, very accurately all made-ground and obstacles. I want this stuff cleaned off...

Kinosura peninsula complete with deep-water mooring for giant ships and Perama port installation in background.
The solution so far is to use eighteenth century French maps ! These seem to be a good match with sattelite maps and fotos and the engineering tecnicians who supported French fortification science seem to have done a good job with naval charts from the time.

Barbier du Bocage's map of 1785 gives a nice base map.
Notice the north-pointer is the Fleur de Lys..the map was drawn just a few years before Le Revolution.
 Until things obviously awry I will use this base map plus modern depth information.

No comments:

Post a Comment