The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Modelling of Scour around shipwrecks - Dormant - Dormant

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Exploring the role of fluid flow on the development of submerged sites.

Project Overview

The investigation of the site formation processes operating on submerged archaeological objects (principally shipwrecks) has to date focused primarily on the role of chemical and biological factors.

Following the ground-breaking work of Muckelroy in the late seventies, who at least identified the role of physical processes in the evolution of the archaeological record, very little has been done on the role of fluid flow on the development of a submerged site. Through the study of sonar images of a number of UK wrecks Caston (1979) identified the ubiquitous presence of scour as well as postulating a simple qualitative relationship between scour development and peak tidal flow. However, significantly more extensive research by the marine engineering industry suggest that scour has a critical effect on the stability and integrity of all temporary and permanent installations affected by the action of waves and currents. Consequently, it is proposed that scouring maybe a key factor in the development of any submerged site influenced by fluid flow (ie this work is equally applicable to fluvial, estuarine and marine localities.

This project hopes to explore the fundamental role of scour on the development of submerged archaeological sites through the application of physical and numerical modelling techniques. This work will greatly enhance our knowledge of submerged site development in a variety of flow regimes. In particular, the ability to predict either the location of the scour pits or the archaeological 'obstacle' may significantly effect subsequent recording strategies employed and most importantly the true extent of any one site and hence the area to be designated.

Associated research themes

Maritime archaeology

Related research groups

Maritime Archaeology
Centre for Applied Archaeological Analyses

Staff

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