1Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
2Marine Geology Department, Iranian National Institute for Oceanography (INIO), Tehran, Iran
3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
4Institute for the Environment, Brunel University, UB8 3PH Uxbridge, London, UK
5Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, CEREGE, UMR6635 – IRD, CEREGE, UMR 161 – Collège de France, CEREGE, 13545 Aix en Provence cedex 4, France
6School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ 08754-2001, USA
7Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie UMR7263 CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université – Europôle Méditerranéen de l'Arbois – Pavillon Villemin – BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 04, France
Abstract. Historical literature may constitute a valuable source of information to reconstruct sea level changes. Here, historical documents and geological records have been combined to reconstruct Caspian sea-level (CSL) changes during the last millennium. In addition to a literature survey, new data from two short sediment cores were obtained from the south-eastern Caspian coast to identify coastal change driven by water-level changes. Two articulated bivalve shells from the marine facies were radiocarbon dated and calibrated to establish a chronology and to compare them with historical findings. The overall results indicate a high-stand during the Little Ice Age, up to −19 m, with a −28 m low-stand during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, while presently the CSL stands at −26.5 m. A comparison of the CSL curve with other lake systems and proxy records suggests that the main sea-level oscillations are essentially paced by solar irradiance. Although the major controller of the long-term CSL changes is driven by climatological factors, the seismicity of the basin could create locally changes in base level. These local base-level changes should be considered in any CSL reconstruction.