Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


7 January 2011

Kesik plain and Alacaligöl mound an assessment of the Paleogeography around Troia

Ilhan Kayan Studia Troica 18 (2009): 105-128.


The Kesik plain is situated about 4 km west of troia. It is an indentation extending towards Yeniköy ridge from the Karamenderes delta-flood plain, and it covers an area of about 1 km2. Some investigators have supposed this low-lying area to be a convenient harbor location for Troia. A canal connecting the west side of the plain to the Aegean sea has been considered a waterway. Our investigations in the years of 1990 revealed that intruding sea into Karamenderes (Scamander) valley during the holocene transgression covered also Kesik plain and formed a small inlet. However, this small inlet could not have been used as an harbor during Troia VI and later because this area had turned into land by siltation before the late Bronze age. In addition, it was deduced that the canal to the west could not have been a waterway between the Kesik depression and the Aegean sea.

A new prehistoric settlement site was found near Alacaligöl on the southwest part of the Kesik plain during our renewed research since 2000. In light of new data, the formation and development of the Kesik plain can be explained as follows: Rising sea in the holocene intruded into the Kesik depression from the former Karamenderes valley. Based on paleogeographical and sedimentological evidence, as well as c14 dating, the rise in sea level ended about 6000 years ago at the present level. The alacaligöl settlement has been dated to the neolithic-chalcolithic periods by archaeologists. Accordingly, about 7000-6000 years ago, this settlement was located about 3-4 m above sea level on the tip of a narrow and low-lying ridge extending toward a small indentation in the southwest of the Kesik inlet. A fresh-water spring on the western shore and plenty of seafood in the shallow-water inlet were probably important reasons why this place was chosen for settlement.

It seems that the depth of water in the Kesik inlet was about 4 m at this time. then, marine sedimentation continued to fill the bottom while sea level remained about its present level. In the following period, sea level fell about 2 m. the rising sedimentation and the falling sea level met at a surface about 1 m below present sea level. This surface is represented by a swampy sedimentation unit dated to about 4000–3500 BP. The Alacaligöl mound and its surroundings were not settled in this period or later, including the period of troia VI and the period of the following (supposed) Troian Wars. Therefore, the Kesik inlet could not have been used as an harbor site at this time.

Later, the Kesik depression filled with colluvial sediments with a generally fine-grained texture and compact-blocky structure. Formation of the Alacaligöl swampy environment occurred much later, probably only a few centuries ago. Swamp development is related to Karamenderes flood sediments which covered and then slightly elevated the eastern part of the depression. Due to less sediment income from surrounding slopes, and because of its location far from Karamenderes flood sediments, a swamp developed in the low-lying areas around Alacaligöl. In recent times, drainage and reclamation works have tried to create arable land. But it is not possible to drain the Kesik plain via the Kesik canal. The threshhold of the bedrock lies on a higher level than the Kesik depression. On the other hand, in the 1950s the national water survey drained the area with a smaller ditch along the north of Kesik plain. Private drainage works continue today by area farmers.


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