Redating the formation of Lake Bafa, western Turkey: Integrative geoarchaeological methods and new environmental and dating evidence

Akcer-On S., Greaves A. M., Manning S. W., ÖN Z. B., Çağatay M. N., Sakinc M., ...More

GEOARCHAEOLOGY-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL, vol.35, no.5, pp.659-677, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/gea.21791
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Anthropological Literature
  • Page Numbers: pp.659-677
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The ancient Gulf of Latmos is an iconic example of a dynamic landscape and humankind's historical relationship with it. Using extensive new primary data and original models for calibrating radiocarbon dates in transitional lagoon environments, we demonstrate that Lake Bafa (or Bafa Golu, in Turkish) formed at a much earlier date than previously thought. In questioning the logical process by which previous dates were achieved, we re-examine the relationship between sedimentological data, archaeology and written history. We reassert the need to establish independently dated environmental data sets as the foundation of regional studies as distinct from archaeological and historical interpretive processes. We conclude that Lake Bafa slowly transitioned to become an isolated lagoon sometime between the end of the second millennium B.C. and end of the first millennium B.C.; becoming a fully closed brackish lake during the second millennium A.D. This marks a major shift in our understanding of the nature of human occupation and activity here during the last four millennia but also in the way we date ancient lagoons and integrate historical and environmental data in general.