EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modeling drift-induced maritime connectivity between Cyprus and its surrounding coastal areas during early Holocene

Andreas Nikolaidis1, Evangelos Akylas1,6, Constantine Michailides1, Theodora Moutsiou2, Georgios Leventis1, Alexandros Constantinides1, Carole McCartney2, Stella Demesticha2, Vasiliki Kassianidou2, Zomenia Zomeni3, Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer4, Yizhaq Makovsky5, and Phaedon Kyriakidis1,6
Andreas Nikolaidis et al.
  • 1Cyprus University of Technology, Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics
  • 2University of Cyprus, Department of History and Archaeology
  • 3Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment of the Republic of Cyprus,Geological Survey Department
  • 4Tel Aviv University, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
  • 5University of Haifa, Charney School of Marine Sciences
  • 6Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence of the Cyprus University of Technology

Maritime connectivity between Cyprus and other Eastern Mediterranean coastal regions on the mainland constitutes a critical factor towards understanding the origins of the early visitors to Cyprus during the onset of the Holocene (circa 12,000 years before present) in connection with the spread of the Neolithic in the region (Dawson, 2014). 
In this work, ocean circulation modeling and particle tracking are employed for characterizing drift-induced sea-borne connectivity for that period, using data and assumptions to approximate prevailing paleo-geographical conditions (re-constructed coastline from global sea level curves), and rudimentary vessel (rafts, dugouts) characteristics, as well as present-day weather conditions. The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS, Shchepetkin and mcWilliams, 2005), forced by Copernicus Marine portal hydrological data, with wave and wind forcing derived from a combination of global reanalysis data and regional-scale numerical weather predictions (ERA5 and E-WAVE project products), are employed to provide the physical domain and atmospheric conditions. Particle-tracking is carried out using the OpenDrift model (Dagestad et al., 2018) to simulate drift-induced (involuntary) sea-borne movement. The sensitivity of the results on the hydrodynamic response (e.g. drag) of rudimentary vessels, such as rafts of postulated shape, size, and weight, that are believed to have been used for maritime travel during the period of interest, is also investigated. The simulation results are used to estimate the degree of maritime connectivity, due to drift-induced sea-borne movement, between segments of Cyprus coastline as well as its neighboring mainlands, and identify areas of both coastlines where landing/departure might be most favorable.
This work aims to provide novel insights into the possible prehistoric maritime pathways between Cyprus and other Eastern Mediterranean coastal regions, and is carried out within the context of project SaRoCy (, a two-year research project implemented under the “Excellence Hubs” Programme (contract number EXCELLENCE/0198/0143) of the RESTART 2016-2020 Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Innovation administered by the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus.


Dagestad K.-F., Röhrs J., Breivik Ø., Aadlandsvik B. 2018. “OpenDrift: A generic framework for trajectory modeling'', Geoscientific Model Development 11, 1405-1420.

Dawson, H. 2014. Mediterranean Voyages: The Archaeology of Island Colonisation and Abandonment. Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press Inc.

Shchepetkin, A. F., & McWilliams, J. C. 2005. “The regional oceanic modeling system (ROMS): A split-explicit, free-surface, topography-following-coordinate oceanic model”. Ocean Modelling 9, no. 4, 347-404. https://doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2004.08.002.

How to cite: Nikolaidis, A., Akylas, E., Michailides, C., Moutsiou, T., Leventis, G., Constantinides, A., McCartney, C., Demesticha, S., Kassianidou, V., Zomeni, Z., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D., Makovsky, Y., and Kyriakidis, P.: Modeling drift-induced maritime connectivity between Cyprus and its surrounding coastal areas during early Holocene, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19782,, 2020


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