Funded by the Marine Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund, and supported by offshore industries, this project is continuing investigation of submerged landscape deposits in the outer Thames Estuary and the southern North Sea.
The geological and heritage assessment of the Thames Regional Environmental Characterisation revealed around 15,000 km2 of palaeo-landscapes potentially dating from 600-720 ka BP. These deposits lie immediately offshore from the region that has produced the earliest archaeological evidence for the occupation of the British Isles (c 600 - 1000 ka BP). The exceptional level of preservation of this landscape holds great potential for: understanding our earliest archaeological heritage; understanding the broader geological changes which have occurred during several episodes of sea level change; and providing an enhanced context for a number of aggregate licensing areas and other commercial seabed projects. To resolve the true importance of this landscape an improved chronology is essential. This will be achieved through a combination of analysis of newly acquired and archived geophysical and core data along with state-of-the-art dating techniques (palaeo-magnetic, amino acid racemisation and electron spin resonance) and additional landscape analysis.