Long-term urbanised deltas


This research theme aims a better understanding of the interactions between urban systems and deltaic environments over time. Today, urbanised deltas are amongst the most vulnerable areas to climate change, while these same deltaic environments saw the emergence of the first urban civilisations more than 5000 years ago. We aim to identify the risks associated with past deltaic environments and to identify the adaptation strategies developped by ancient urban societies.

This research involves interdisciplinary studies involving researchers in geoarchaeology, geohistory, geomorphology, human geography and geomatics from the Laboratoire Image, Ville Environment (UMR-7362), a joint research unit between the University of Strasbourg and the CNRS. This work is carried out in collaboration with researchers of different disciplines and institutions from across the world.

Research objectives

  • (1) To reconstruct deltaic and river mouth dynamics during the Holocene;
  • (2) To seek evidences to better understand the emergence and evolution of urbanisation in deltas;
  • (3) To identify the resilience and adaptative strategies of deltaic cities through time;
  • (4) To draw temporal trajectories: past, present and future of urbanised deltas.


  • 2022-2024 : AdaptiCity « Spina and Comacchio: Which adaptations to the risks of subsidence and submergence in the long term? (Po delta, Italy) ». Fundings: IdEx Exploratoire – Université de Strasbourg/CNRS. Coordinator: Dr. Ferréol Salomon; Collaborations: Università di Bologna, Università di Padova and Università Ca'Foscari of Venice.

  • 2022-2025 : LIXVS-GARVM Fundings: Universidad de Cádiz.  Coordinators: Prof. Darío Bernal-Casasola (Universidad de Cádiz) and Prof. Mohamed Kbiri Alaoui (Institut National des Sciences de l’Archéologie et du Patrimoine - INSAP).

  • 2022-2025 : EOR « Early Ostia Revisited ». Fundings: FNRS (Belgium). Coordinators: Prof. Thomas Morard and Prof. Françoise van Haeperen (Université de Liège).

  • 2021-2023 : AMEr « Archaeological Mission at Eridu ». Fundings: Università La Sapienza and Université de Strasbourg - Coordinators: Prof. Franco d'Agostino (Universtà La Sapienza, Roma) and Prof. Philippe Quenet (Université de Strasbourg).

  • 2020-2022 : FosPhora « Fos-Ostie-Portus: Harbours of Roman Antiquity ». Fundings: A*Midex– Université Aix-Marseille. Coordinator: Dr. Marie-Brigitte Carre.

  • 2019-2021 : CadiX-Y-Z « Reconstuction of the palaeotopography and history of Cadiz through its sedimentary archives ». Fundings: Post-Doc IdEx Attractivité (CNRS LIVE UMR 7362 / Université de Cádiz). Coordinators: Dr. Ferréol Salomon / In collaboration with Prof. Darío Bernal (Universidad de Cádiz).

  • 2014-2019 : PortusLimen Project « Rome Mediterranean Ports - RoMP ». Fundings: ERC. Coordinators: Prof. Simon Keay and Prof. Pascal Arnaud.

Some publications


  • Salomon, F., Vittori, C., Noirot, B., Pleuger, E., Rosa, C., Mazzini, I., Carbonel, P., Djerbi, H., Bellotti, P., Goiran, J.-P., 2020. Reconstruction of the Tiber Deltaic stratigraphic successions near Ostia using the PADM chart and tracking of the bedload-derived facies (Rome, Italy). Geomorphology 365, 107227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107227


  • Salomon, F., Strutt, K., Mladenović, D., Goiran, J.-P., Keay S., 2023. Management of fluvio-coastal dynamics in the Tiber delta during the Roman period: Using an integrated waterways system to cope with environmental challenges at Ostia and Portus. Water History 15, 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12685-023-00324-3
  • Salomon, F., Bernal Casasola, D., Díaz, J.J., Lara  Medina, M., Domínguez-Bella, S., Ertlen, D., Wassmer, P., Adam, P., Schaeffer, P., Hardion, L., Vittori, C., Chapkanski, S., Delile, H., Schmitt, L., Preusser, F., Trautmann, M., Masi, A., Vignola, C., Sadori, L., Morales, J., Vidal Matutano, P., Robin, V., Keller, B., Sanchez Bellón, Á., Martínez López, J., Rixhon, G., 2020. High-resolution late Holocene sedimentary cores record the long history of the city of Cádiz (south-western Spain). Scientific Drilling 8, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-27-35-2020
  • Salomon, F., Goiran, J.-P., Noirot, B., Pleuger, E., Bukowiecki, E., Mazzini, I., Carbonel, P., Gadhoum, A., Arnaud, P., Keay, S., Zampini, S., Kay, S., Raddi, M., Ghelli, A., Pellegrino, A., Morelli, C., Germoni, P., 2018. Geoarchaeology of the Roman port-city of Ostia: Fluvio-coastal mobility, urban development and resilience. Earth-Science Reviews 177, 265–283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.10.003


  • Goiran, J.-Ph., Chan W.M., Benech C., Vitale Q., Riddick N., Delile H., Salomon F., Chapkanski S., Oberlin C., Brocard G., Lisé-Pronovost A., Vittori C., 2022, « Developments in Geoarchaeological Research, Methodologies and Applications in Harbour Maritime Archaeology » Byzanz zwischen Orient und Okzident, Band 21: 109‑129. https://doi.org/10.11588/propylaeum.910.c12051.
  • Bernal-Casasola, D., Salomon, F., Díaz, J.J., Lara, M., Rixhon, G., Morales, J., Vidal Matutano, P., 2020. Deeper Than Expected: The Finding of a Remarkable Ancient Harbour at Gadir/Gades and an Exceptional Sedimentary Archive (Cádiz, Southern Spain). Journal of Maritime Archaeology 15, 165–183. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-020-09258-w
  • Salomon, F., Keay, S., Carayon, N., Goiran, J.-P., 2016. The Development and Characteristics of Ancient Harbours—Applying the PADM Chart to the Case Studies of Ostia and Portus. PLOS ONE 11, e0162587. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162587


  • Salomon, F., Rousse C., 2022. Navigable canals in deltaic environments during the Roman period: deciphering location patterns ». In Ports Romans. Arqueologia dels sistemes portuaris, by Ada Lasheras González, Joaquín Ruiz de Arbulo, Patricia Terrado Ortuño. Tarraco Biennal - 5e Congrès Internacional d’Arqueologia i Mon Antic - 24-27/11/2021. Tarragona, p. 173‑195. https://hal.science/hal-03869453/document
  • Salomon, F., Lebrun-Nesteroff, L., Goiran, J.-P., Boetto, G., Arnoldus-Huyzendveld†, A., Germoni, P., Ghelli, A., Mazzini, I., Vittori, C., Zampini, S., Keay, S., 2020. The Portus to Ostia Canal, in: The Isola Sacra Survey: Ostia, Portus and the Port System of Imperial Rome. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, pp. 123–145. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.55285
  • Salomon, F., Goiran, J.-P., Bravard, J.-P., Arnaud, P., Djerbi, H., Kay, S., Keay, S., 2014. A harbour–canal at Portus: a geoarchaeological approach to the Canale Romano: Tiber delta, Italy. Water History 6, 31–49. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12685-014-0099-1

PhD thesis in progress

Phd thesis conducted by Joé Juncker : « Les deltas méditerranéens du 1er millénaire avant notre ère : synchronisation de la dynamique des embouchures et des chronologies historiques ». PhD thesis directed by L. SCHMITT and co-directed by F. SALOMON, Laboratoire Image, Ville, Environnement (UMR 7362), Université de Strasbourg / CNRS.

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