The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonPostgraduate study

SOES6072 Marine GeoArchaeology

Module Overview

This module covers all key aspects of the relatively new discipline of marine geoarchaeology for both the academic and commercial sectors. The course will develop the techniques required to undertake a geoarchaeological assessment of both wrecks and submerged archaeological landscapes in coastal and full marine settings. The students will work with real data as well as being exposed to the principal analytical techniques both in the field (one day boatwork) and the laboratory.

Aims and Objectives


  • To provide an understanding of what approaches are used by academia and the commercial sector to investigate the geoarchaeological record.
  • To provide the students with the skills set to be able to undertake a full geoarchaeological assessment of a marine or coastal site (from desk based analysis to field based data – acquisition, processing and interpretation.
  • To provide an understanding of how marine and coastal environments impact and/or enhance the archaeological record.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module you should be able to:

  1. Plan and execute a geoarchaeological assessment of coastal or full marine archaeological site.
  2. Be able to acquire, analyse and evaluate a wide range of archaeological, geological and oceanographic data including (heritage records; in situ and remotely (Lidar) acquired topographic data; bathymetric and some sub-surface seismic data; hydrodynamic data; hand auger sediment and faunal samples;
  3. Place local site studies in both regional and global contexts
  4. Have a full appreciation of the key issues in marine geoarchaeology in terms of both submerged landscape studies and archaeologically specific site dynamics.
  5. Have confidence in orally presenting in extended format integrated archaeological and earth science material.
  6. Write a full geoarchaeological report of a field site to English Heritage standards.


Refer to Overview and Module Aims.

Learning and Teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours:54
Private study hours:246
Total study time: 300 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods

  • Formal Lectures: 15 x 45 minute lectures
  • Practical sessions: 9 x 2 hour laboratory sessions, to include six sessions on GIS and three on  core description and analysis.
  • Field sessions: One boat based session in the Solent.
  • Support: is provided by staff and/or postgraduate demonstrators where appropriate. Including  four surgery sessions where questions to facilitate the field report can be answered.
  • Group Presentation and Interview: 1 x 30 minute minutes duration.

Resources and reading list

The lecture material is summarised at Instructions for accessing this material will be given during the course.


Assessment methods

2500 word New Scientist Article (10%)

Group Interview/Presentation (20%)

6000 word Project Report (65%)

Viva on project report (5%)

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