Traces of tsunami that hit Israel’s coast 2800 years ago

Researchers discovered an anomalous layer of sandstone overlying Phoenician graves in Tel Achziv, Israel, that might potentially indicate a tsunami hit the coast about 2800 years ago.

Anomalous sandy layer (by Avraham Ronen)

The evidence for the supposed tsunami is only physical as no record of the event occurring 2800 years ago is known. The tsunami layer consists of 80-centimetre thick sand with pottery fragments and stones where it doesn’t belong – on top of a Phoenician cemetery which is meters above sea level at the site. the layer has been traced on a 4-kilometre-long distance from Achziv to Rosh Hanikra, northern Israel, but according to the researchers  tsunami presumably hit the Israeli coast along a wider range, but the evidence has disappeared or not been noticed.

Broken pottery from Phenician era (by Avraham Ronen)

Researchers state that the layer of litter-strewn sand over the graves is difficult to explain otherwise. Tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea are not rare, based on core samples taken from the sea floor, but finding sings of such an event from 2800 years ago might be problematic. Written records going back about 2500 years on Israel coastline state that there were at least 12 to 13 tsunami events of which physical evidence for about seven exist.

Chalky rocks from the supposed tsunami layer (by Avraham Ronen)

It is believed that the tsunami that may have hit Achziv was probably also about eight to nine meters in height. Achziv’s south contains a cemetery with graves carved into the kurkar sandstone between the 10th century BC. and the 7th century BC, according to analysis of the ceramic assembly carbon-14 dating of remains. On top of these Phoenician graves lies the strange loose aggregate of sand about 80 centimetres thick. That layer is about 3.5-4 meters above the present sea level in the Mediterranean, which has not changed much over the last 3000 years. The anomalous layer contains bits of stone and pottery fragments. The upper bit of the sandy layer is more consolidated, and harder, than the lower part, an effect humans couldn’t achieve. The researchers state that the only thing that answers the riddle is a tsunami, which mixes up heavy things like the stones and pottery fragments with sand.

(after Avraham Ronen & Haaretz)

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