Monday, 14 October 2013

Post Glacial Flooding of Ephesus in Asia Minor - A Worldwide Phenomenon

By Robert John Langdon

On a recent visit to Turkey researching more evidence for my next book in the trilogy, Prehistoric Britain - "Dawn of the Lost Civilisation," I came across the ancient City of EPHESUS.

Map of Ephesus
Ancient Ephesus showing old Harbour to the left

From Wiki:

Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/;[1] GreekἜφεσος Ephesos; TurkishEfes) was an Arzawan (later ancient Greek) city,[2][3] and later a major Roman city, on the coast of Ionia, near present-day Selçukİzmir ProvinceTurkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.[4]
The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 268 AD, the Temple was destroyed or damaged in a raid by the Goths.[5] It may have been rebuilt or repaired but this is uncertain, as its later history is not clear.[6] Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. Following the Edict of Thessalonica from emperor Theodosius I, what remained of the temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom.[7] The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River(Küçük Menderes).
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.[8] The Gospel of John may have been written here.[9] The city was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils, (see Council of Ephesus). It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.

What the guidebooks and tour operators miss in their itineraries is the obvious - how come the harbour which is now dry, be so far away from the sea?
Now there is a throwaway line in Wiki "The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River(Küçük Menderes)" and the plans of the city portray this 'silting' as a small natural event.

Ephesus from the air

Ephesus map

But that is not the reality!

If you want to understand the size and scale of this so called 'silting', then you need to look at Google Earth to understand the scale of how far the sea is away from the town today.

Ephesus, Post Glacial Flooding
This is the harbour when it was a real harbour
Ephesus map flooding
Ephesus harbour in Mesolithic Period 10,000 BC to 2,500 BC

On the lower map you can clearly see how they tried to keep the Ancient city alive by cutting a route to the sea in the Byzantine era (395–1308) - remembering that the sea level was 2m lower at that period. It's the dark-blue cutting below the water highlight to the left of the city.
So what happened to all the water!!
In the Mesolithic Period, the sea level would have been at least 10m lower than today - currently as you can see from the map the harbour is some 7 kilometres (4.5 miles) away from the ancient town, so we are looking at a shoreline about 10 kilometres away when the original Neolithic Harbour was created.  The only logical way that this port (which goes all the way back to the seventh millennium BC) can be a harbour, is if the rivers (again in dark-blue below the highlighted water) were much, much larger in the past.  

We have seen from a previous post:

That the areas bordering Turkey and Asia Minor in the Black and Caspian Sea Areas were directly affected by the last Ice Age as archaeologists have now proven that the rivers swelled and both Seas doubled in size. Consequently, Ephesus (just 250 miles away from the Black Sea) clearly was affected by the same Post Glacial Flooding.

What we are seeing is direct evidence that not only did the inland seas of Europe and Asia Minor become larger than today but also ALL of the rivers that feed and were a source to and from these seas.  Moreover, this changed landscape had a direct influence on the evolution of mankind, as we were able to navigate these enlarged water ways by boat and so travel vast distances to distant lands as you will see in my next book 'Dawn of the Lost Civilisation' out in June.

Consequently, as we can see, that some 1000 miles from the last glaciation, what a dramatic effect it had on the environment during the Mesolithic period, (10,000 BC to 2,500 BC), for even in Asia Minor mankind placed their sites on the shorelines of these prehistoric waterways - So can any intelligent person now even doubt that the same effect and consequence happened in England at Stonehenge, which was just a mere 60 miles away from the ice cap?



  1. When's the next book released Robert?

    1. Roger

      Dawn of the Lost civilisation looking at the anthropology of the 'megalithic builders' will be published in June 2014. Several articles (Copies published on this site) are coming out over the next two to three months - Wandsdyke, Britains first civil engineering project is something to behold as it tracks the same objective as the victorian requirement to connect the Thames to the Bristol Channel but made 7000 years earlier.

      Not only was it earlier it was straighter, deeper and wider than the Kennet and Avon Canal (which took them over 100 years to build) indicating that the ships were twice the size as a current barge and the technology was more sophisticated as it did not need any inefficient locks that slow passage time.

      I did offer it to the 'Engineering History and Heritage' journal but it undermined current engineering practices so much they refused to publish the article - although they requested it initially. So much for academia and the peer review system!!


    2. Thanks for the reply Robert, I look forward to reading the new book and extracts, that's interesting about Wansdyke, it terminates on it's east side just down the road from me near Savernake forest but I've never actually seen it close up. From what I've read most historians put it being built around the Roman era, that's about 5000 years later than what you're suggesting, hopefully it'll be explained in your article.

      I've got you to thank now every time I drive through the countryside I start wondering what landscapes/monuments would look like with the higher water level! It's contagious!


    3. Roger

      If you wish to do a bit of research before the articles look up 'superficial deposits' only on the BGS website (it has an excellent viewer) you will notice that they cut into the dyke - for this is the reason it was cut at this particular place as the ditch would have flooded as the superficial deposits are a remnant of the post glacial flooding rivers.


  2. Over at we're showing changing national borders, city growth, battles, armies, ships, etc over time from 3000BC to today. We're a small project team, but as we get data filled in it shows the growth and evolution of human civilization. Some of our highlights include silting moving the shorelines away from cities like Troy, Ur, and Ephesus that led to them becoming abandoned places. Do you have any insight into the specific timelines for the receding shorelines, say in 2500BC, 1800BC, 1000BC? Or any insight into the extent across bodies of water such as the Aegean, Persian Gulf, Netherlands, etc? Singe Running Reality is not just a "dots on a Google Map" project, I have a real opportunity to show changing shorelines and changing river courses.

  3. Garth

    Love the idea of time-lapse history and I will try to help your project once the trilogy is finally published and help with the programming as well.

    Good luck