International scientific expedition in the Aegean Sea led by scientists from Heidelberg University

How did climate and ecosystem changes influence human societies bordering the southern Aegean Sea during the Holocene? This question is in the focus of a ten-day-long research cruise in the Myrtoon Basin with the research vessel ‘AEGAEO’ funded by the EUROFLEETS+ project. The expedition is coordinated by Dr. Andreas Koutsodendris from the Institute of Earth Sciences (Heidelberg University) and is carried out by an international team of researchers from Germany, Austria, France, and Greece. The principle aim of the scientific project is to assess the potential influence of climatically and neotectonically driven environmental change in the Myrtoon Basin on critical sociocultural transitions in the southern Aegean Sea  region over the past c. 10.000 years.
Surrounded by the landmasses of the Peloponnese, Attica and the Cyclades Islands, the study area comprises one of the few regions in Europe that has been continuously inhabited since Neolithic times, and it holds a central position within the ancient core locations of the Cycladic, Mycenean and Classical Greek civilizations. The main tasks of the research program include the mapping of tectonic structures and sub-marine landslides with the use of advanced geophysics instruments, and the collection of sediment cores for micropaleontological and geochemical analyses. The results will allow to better understand the natural processes that have shaped the landmasses surrounding the Myrtoon Basin and to reconstruct the natural terrestrial ecosystems on these landmasses, ultimately resolving the environmental conditions during the rise and fall of early cultures in the southern Aegean Sea region.
The research vessel ‘AEGAEO’ is operated by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research within the EU project EUROFLEETS+, which is designated to foster marine research through an alliance of research-vessel operators from 24 countries in Europe, North America and Oceania.

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