A submerged 7000-year-old village and seawall demonstrate earliest known coastal defence against sea-level rise

Ehud Galili, Jonathan Benjamin, Vered Eshed, Baruch Rosen, John McCarthy, Liora Kolska Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the results of underwater archaeological investigations at the submerged Neolithic settlement of Tel Hreiz (7500 – 7000 BP), off the Carmel coast of Israel. The underwater archaeological site has yielded well-preserved architectural, artefactual, faunal and human remains. We examine and discuss the notable recent discovery of a linear, boulder-built feature >100m long, located seaward of the settlement. Based on archaeological context, mode of construction and radiometric dating, we demonstrate the feature was contemporary with the inundated Neolithic settlement and conclude that it served as a seawall, built to protect the village against Mediterranean Sea-level rise. The seawall is unique for the period and is the oldest known coastal defence worldwide. Its length, use of large non-local boulders and specific arrangement in the landscape reflect the extensive effort invested by the Neolithic villagers in its conception, organisation and construction. However, this distinct social action and display of resilience proved a temporary solution and ultimately the village was inundated and abandoned.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0222560
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2019 Galili et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Keywords

  • underwater archaeology
  • Neolithic settlement
  • Tel Hreiz

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