THE ROLE OF SEA LEVEL AND BAY INFILLING IN THE CLOSING OF AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN HARBOR
Ground penetrating radar, sediment coring, malacological and foraminiferal studies, radiocarbon dates, and rheological models demonstrate that the wadi bed adjacent to the terrace was once an open, protected bay. The base of the corraline / conglomerate terrace consists of a narrow coral-beach rock platform (dated at ~3500 BP) presently buried by anthropogenic, eolian, and colluvial sediments. Ubiquitous medium-fine wadi sediments underlie and extend beyond the beach rock. Malachological analyses, foraminifera distributions, radiocarbon dates, and sedimentological data indicate that these sediments were deposited in a protected tidal lagoon receiving infrequent freshwater inputs. Wave-cut notches along the seaward shoreline confirm a site-specific rheological model for the northern the Red Sea that indicates a sea-level highstand (~1 m above present MHW) during or immediately prior to occupation. Late during the period of occupation, the lagoon began to close as equatorial siphoning forced a regional sea-level fall while at the same time, riverine discharge through the wadi processes were infilling the bay at rates on the order of .25 cm/year.