20 Apr 2012

Warning seen in tsunami that saved villagers

11:35 pm on 20 April 2012

German geologists say they have found evidence in northern Greece that a tsunami did save the ancient village of Potidaea from Persian invaders almost 2500 years ago, as recorded by Herodotus.

Researchers say their findings appear to confirm the account given by the Greek historian that huge waves killed hundreds of Persian soldiers during the siege of the village in 479 BC.

New geological evidence suggests that the region could still face tsunami events like the one that drowned hundreds of Persian invaders as they lay siege to the ancient Greek village many centuries ago, according to Klaus Reicherter of Aachen University in Germany and his colleagues.

Sediment on the northern Greek peninsula where Potidaea, and its modern counterpart Nea Potidea, is located showed signs of massive marine events, such as large waves, the scientists say.

And excavations in the suburbs of the ancient city of Mende nearby uncovered a high-energy level dating back to the fifth century BC that contained far older sea shells likely plucked from the ocean bed and tossed about during a tsunami.

Dr Reicherter says the study's findings suggested that the Thermaic Gulf where the peninsula is located -- a densely populated area that is also a tourist destination -- should be included in Greece's tsunami-prone regions.