Buried archeological remains connected to the Greek-Roman harbor at Tindari (north-east Sicily): results from geomorphological and geophysical investigations

Carla Bottari, Stefano Urbini, Marcello Bianca, Maria D'Amico, Marco Marchetti, Francesco Pizzolo


In recent years, detailed geoarcheological investigations have been carried out to search for traces of the ancient Tindari harbor (north-east Sicily, Italy). A digital terrain model supported the hypothesis that 2,000 yr ago the Oliveri Basin was a suitable landing place that was protected from prevailing winds. This model was generated from uplift data, sea level changes, historical cartographic data and three-dimensional reconstruction of the sedimentary succession of the cover. The present position of some historical buildings represent an archeological marker of the shoreline progression. Recent excavations during the construction of the Messina-to-Palermo motorway brought to light some portions of an ancient archeological complex. The thickness of the walls and the volume of the collected archeological material suggests dating between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD. After that time, heavy environmental changes due to human activities in the area led to inaccurate underestimation of the role of Tindari harbor in the past. A geophysical investigation was carried out in the area surrounding the archeological complex to search for new buried structures related to the ancient settlement, and to be open to any results of the paleotopographic reconstruction of the area. The applied geophysical techniques included passive seismic and ground-penetrating radar. This survey indicates the presence of buried structures, such as walls and floors, that probably belong to a Roman villa. Furthermore, it defines the depth of the Holocene sedimentary cover of the Oliveri coastal plain, which strengthens the hypothesis formulated for its morphological evolution.


Buried harbour structures; Geophysical investigation; Horizontal-to-vertical spectra ratio method; Stratigraphy; Digital terrain model

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-4656

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X