The Kenchreae Harbour which was constructed in the Hellinistic period (1st century BC) at present lies 1.60m below sea level. (Fig.11.1) The harbour is located at the hangingwall of the Kenchreae faults. (Fig. 11.2)

The fault which trends E –W and dips north is the southernmost fault of a system of sub-parallel faults which form steep footwall ridges 300-500 m high in Mesozoic limestones. (Fig. 11.3)

There is evidence from three independent sources that the fault has been active for at least the last 2000 years


i. Geological evidence

  • The fault offsets by 1.5m late Pleistocene-Holocene collovium along its trace.
  • At the face of the escapement there are four exposure bands parallel to the ground of increasing weathering from top to bottom. These bands indicate the occurrence of four past displacement events of a total net fault slip of 2.35m.
  • At Loutra Eleni (a coastal spring) and at Akra Sofia there are four submerged shorelines with an average subsidence of 0.3m/event.


ii. Archaeological evidence

The southern mole of the harbour has a length of about 135m. On this mole waterhouses have already been constructed by the 1st century AD which at present are at a depth of between 0.8 and 1.3m. At the seaward end of the mole, fish-tanks were constructed, which at present are at a depth of more than 1.5m. Also at the southwest end of the mole, at a depth of 0.75m, there is a structure, which is, considered to be the temple of Isis, which was contructed in the 2nd cent.  AD. On the top of this temple a Christian church was built which was in use between 4th and 6th centuries AD.

Detailed studies of the submerged harbour remains suggests the occurrence of at least three episodic subsidence events which submerged the harbour under the sea (Table 1)








AD 65 – 1928

most propable 1928

35 minimum



AD 450 +- 25


45 minimum



After AD 80- pre AD 400


78 maximum

                                                                                                                                            Total 160cm



Noller J., Wells L., Reinhardt E., Pothaus E. 1998.

Episodic subsidence at Kenchreae, Greece. Recent Consideration and Concerns. Proceeding of the IGCP 367 Annual Meeting Patras, Greece.


Fig. 11.1: Photo showing that the Kenchreae Harbour at present lies 1.60m below sea level.

Fig. 11.2: Photo showing the Kenchreae fault which act as part of the slope of Onie mountain in the background and the hangingwall block in the foreground, where Kenchreae harbour was built.


Fig.11.3: Simplified geology map of the eastern Gulf of Corinth region showing the location of the major faults Outcrops of Mesozoic rocks are shown in dark grey and Quaternary in pale grey.