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Geoarchaeology and Archaeosismology Research

Geology and active fault map of Bozburun and its surroundings. Map obtained from after combining Ersoy, (1993), Şenel and Bilgin, (1997a, b) and Emre et al., (2011), and rearranging it specifically for this study.

Phoenix Archeological Project (PAP) is a project that aims to examine Taşlıca settlement and its surrounding archaeological settlements with a multidisciplinary approach, which is approximately 45 km away from Marmaris in Bozburun peninsula of Western Anatolia. 

The study area is geologically located at the southwestern end of the Western Anatolian expansion zone. The region is tectonically active and has high seismicity. While the first geological researches conducted in the region were based on the travel notes of Spratt and Forbes (1847), especially the geographical maps of Bozburun and Datça peninsulas were published by Newton (1865) and Spratt (1886), respectively. Except for Tchihatcheff’s (1867) wide area map covering the Aegean Sea and its surroundings, the first detailed geological map of the region with a scale of 1/300000 was produced by Philippson (1915). Later, a more detailed geological map with a scale of 1/100000 covering the Datça and Bozburun peninsulas was prepared by Kaaden and Metz (1954). Ersoy (1993), on the other hand, presented both the 1/400000 geological map of the area and the geological evolution of the Mesozoic succession in the region in his study, which was conducted exclusively on the Bozburun peninsula. Within the scope of the geological mapping studies carried out by the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration, MTA, the geological maps of the O19 and O20 sheets with a scale of 1/100000 covering the Bozburun Peninsula were published as a booklet by Şenel and Bilgin (1997a, b).

Although the structural elements in the area are shown on geological maps produced especially until the 2000’s, active faults exposed in the Bozburun Peninsula and have the potential to produce earthquakes were first revealed in the Renewed Turkey Active Fault Maps series made by MTA. Emre et al. (2011), 1/250000 scaled Marmaris (NJ 35-15 Sheet – Series No: 8) active fault map shows three fault zones that are considered in the Quaternary fault class and named Selimiye, Bozburun and Taşlıca from north to south (Figure 1). According to Emre et al. (2018), the length of these active faults varies between 11 and 21 km, whose character has a dip-slip normal faulting mechanism. As a result of the FaultStat program which was developed by Sumer et al. (2018) made a solution according to the relationship between fault parameters and earthquake magnitude, it was calculated that these faults have the potential to produce earthquakes between Mw: 6.1-6.8 magnitude.

In the first stage, the archaeoseismological studies to be carried out within the scope of the Phoenix Archaeological Project aim to determine the effects of ancient earthquakes that may have been created by active faults in the region and the possible deformation traces (rotation, tilting, cutting, snake-shaped undulation, horizontal and vertical displacement, etc.) in the archaeological structures.

On the other hand, it is also important that the names of archaeological sites such as Phoenix and its surrounding Saranda and Prinari / Tlos (?) are of Luwian origin and some Bronze Age shipwrecks (Özdaş et al., 2020) already detected in the region, especially in Bozburun and Serçeliman. This case indicates that the area may should have been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Thus, the data to be obtained within the scope of archaeoseismological studies will provide to obtain important information about the area by determining the historical period earthquake activities, which is thought to have been uninterrupted settlements since the Bronze Age.

Other scientific studies planned to be conducted in the first years of the project in parallel with the archaeoseismological studies are as follows; It is the detailed mapping of active faults in the region, determination of their kinematic and geometric features, mapping of the morphological structures and possible changes in the coastline associated with tectonic and / or eustatic events. In addition, it is another goal to investigate the tsunami traces caused by the Aegean and Mediterranean originated earthquakes in bays such as Serçelimanı, Casara, Prinari and Bozuk Liman, which presented by high value of bay shape factor (Shp).

When the archaeoseismological, kinematic, morphometric and tsunami data that will emerge with this project are combined with archaeological findings, it is aimed to reach important findings about the active tectonics of the southwest of Anatolia. Since the Bronze Age, the region is thought to have an important place in the Mediterranean’s maritime trade network. It will also enable to reveal the relations between the ports suitable for maritime trade and the tectonic phenomena in the region with the archeoseismology studies that will be carried out in parallel with the archaeology studies.


Emre, Ö., Duman, T.Y., Özalp, S., 2011. 1:250.000 Ölçekli Türkiye Diri Fay Hartası Serisi, Marmaris (NJ 35-15) Paftası, Seri No: 8, Maden Tetkik ve Arama Genel Müdürlüğü, Ankara, Türkiye.

Emre, Ö., Duman, T.Y., Özalp, S., Elmacı, H., Olgun, Ş., Şaroğlu, F. 2013. Active fault map of Turkey with explanatory text. General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration Special Publication Series, 30. 

Emre, Ö., Duman, T. Y., Özalp, S., Şaroğlu, F., Olgun, Ş., Elmacı, H., Çan, T. 2018. Active fault database of Turkey. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 16, 3229-3275.

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