Archaeoseismology is the study of past earthquakes deriving from the analysis of archaeological sites. Such analyses reveal information about seismic events that have not been historically recorded. Such data can also help to document seismic risk in areas subject to extremely destructive earthquakes. In 1991, an international conference held in Athens marked the beginning of modern research in the field of archaeoseismology, described as a "study of ancient earthquakes, and their social, cultural, historical and natural effects".
The archaeological record can carry three different types of evidence of seismic activity:
- The archaeological remains are displaced due to the movement of an active fault.
- The remains and artefacts contained in destruction deposits, associated with the decline of soil or seismic vibration, can be used the dating of earthquake damage. Other archaeological evidence, such as repairs, abandonment of an archaeological site or architectural changes, can help in identifying ancient earthquakes.
- Αncient buildings and other man-made structures can be studied for signs of ancient seismic disaster, often associated with soil vibration.
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