The ancient port of Lechaion has been active since the Late Bronze Age

Publication involving a former ENS de Lyon PhD candidate and the EVS laboratory, in the journal Marine Geology.
  • Earliest Evidence of Port-Related lead pollution in Bronze Age Greece
  • First discovery of brown coal in a stratigraphic context at the end of the Bronze Age
  • Lechaion’s harbour archaeological chronology pushed back by at least 5 centuries
  • New perspectives on regional economy and trade during the LBA/EIA transition

Lechaion in Corinth, Greece, is the largest ancient port in Greece. Harbour geoarchaeological investigations, based on 14C-dated palaeoenvironmental archives taken from a well-studied inner basin (Basin 3) and a still unknown outer basin (Basin 4), revealed anthropogenic lead excesses starting from the 12th century BCE, associated with brown coal fragments, for the first time discovered in such an ancient archaeological context. Given that historical sources trace the foundation of the port back to the 7th century BCE, these results attest to protohistoric industrial use of the site and push back its chronology by over five centuries. The existence of such ancient port activity not only extends the chronological horizon for harbour activity in the Corinthian area, but also provides new insights for the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (LBA/EIA) transition, including potential trading routes that may have transited through Lechaion, likely spanning across the Gulf of Corinth and possibly even beyond, to western Mediterranean urban centers.

Hugo Delile , researcher at the Archéorient laboratory (CNRS/Univ. Lumière Lyon 2), is one of the co-signatories. Hugo Delile’s thesis was co-supervised by LGL-TPE (Laboratory of Geology of Lyon: Earth, Planets, Environment) and EVS (Laboratory Environment, City, Society). He is a member of the OMEAA (Observing and Measuring Present and Past Environments) technical platform team, co-sponsored by Archéorient and EVS, where the sediment analyses for this study were carried out.


Harbour geoarchaeology of Lechaion (Corinth area, Greece) sheds new light on economics during the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age transition. Antoine Chabrol, Hugo Delile, Sandrine Baron, Catherine Bouras, Panagiotis Athanasopoulos, and Bjørn Lovén. DOI : 10.1016/j.margeo.2023.107167