In 2021 we will focus our research plans on the Thinia valley (highlighted in the aerial photograph above, looking north). The area is crucial to the Odysseus Unbound theory that we’re testing. It is the presumed site of the marine channel that Strabo describes as having once separated the Paliki peninsula from the rest of Kefalonia.
Our aim is to get and examine evidence that will allow us to determine if the channel existed and was there at the time of Odysseus, in the Late Bronze Age (c.3000 years ago).
|Long Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) across the Thinia valley||A detailed 3-D picture of the geology under the valley floor right down to modern sea level. Combined with existing gravity survey data it will give us the best possible understanding of the very complex way the valley has been filled by one or more major landslides. Read more…||£20,000|
|Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating of buried walls in the ‘wooded triangle’||OSL dating reveals when buried rocks (including man-made features) were last exposed to light. This will give us a date for the landslip that buried the walls under the ‘wooded triangle’. Read more…||£5000|
|Cosmogenic Radionuclide Exposure (CRE) dating of back scarps of eastern mountains||CRE dating reveals how long rock has been exposed to cosmic rays. This will give us a date for when the eastern mountainside broke off to crash down as a massive landslip, exposing a new cliff face. Hopefully the OSL and CRE dates will be similar! Read more…||£10,000|
|Field surveys in Thinia valley||Detailed mapping of previously identified faults in the valley hillsides should tell us how different sections of rock moved in the landslides. We may find surface evidence of marine sediments thrown up by the landslides. Together, we will get a more complete picture of how the valley was filled. Read more…||£2750|
|Analysis of Fugro sediment cores||If we find evidence for layers of disruption and deformation caused by landslides we will be able to correlate the dates and extent of the landslide events. Read more…||£5000|
|Exploratory archaeological investigations||We will collaborate with the Greek Ephorate of Antiquities on Kefalonia and the National Technical University of Athens to support their investigations of a Mycenaean tomb site on Paliki. Read more…||£10,000|
Background to the formation of the Thinia valley
Our research in the subsurface of the valley has already revealed new evidence that shows that a marine channel existed some 400,000 years ago, something that is not apparent from surface geology.
Significantly, we now know from analysis of the marine core sediments we drilled in 2018 that sea levels rose after the last Ice Age (in the past 10,000 years) to a level high enough to flood such a deep valley, potentially creating a marine channel again.
Crucially, our evidence also shows this happened before the Late Bronze Age, so making a channel at the time of Odysseus much more likely.
The Roman geographer Strabo described an intermittent channel some 2000 years ago. And we know a massive landslip blocked the southern exit of the valley to a depth of some 180m.
The big questions for 2021: how and when did that happen?
Did the landslip deform or destroy the channel, or does some buried geological evidence for it still remain?
The 2021 Research Projects in detail
These fundamental questions will be addressed through a combination of geological and geophysical methods for which we seek your financial support.
The field mapping, geophysical data acquisition, use of other innovative dating methods and the sampling and analyses of the core material that is now housed in Edinburgh will enable Professors John Underhill and Peter Styles to address and answer the remaining questions and produce a definitive answer about the existence and date of Strabo’s Channel.
Appeal for sponsorship and donations
These advanced geophysics techniques are expensive, even though we conduct them in collaboration with academic colleagues from Greece and elsewhere.
We estimate our plans for 2021 will cost some £52,750. But they are carefully chosen to give us the best chance of answering the questions at the heart of the Odysseus Unbound project.
Please contact us if you’d like to sponsor all or part of the research. Commercial or individual sponsors are both welcome. Please email us at [email protected] for more details.