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Coastal and Offshore Archaeological Research Services (COARS)News

Results of Market Intelligence Gathering Exercise into Industry-wide Skills Associated with Marine Geoarchaeology

Published: 1 September 2014
Teaching borehole interpretations

Results of a skills shortage assessment across the marine development sector, undertaken by COARS and commissioned by English Heritage, are published today. The survey looked into the availability of skills and expertise in relation to the use of seabed and sub-seabed sediment samples for marine geoarchaeology. The results of this survey are being used to formulate a training programme, to be hosted at the University of Southampton in January 2015, to address the identified skills shortages.

In recent years there have been extensive geotechnical and environmental sampling survey programmes conducted by developers in support of numerous coastal and marine development projects, such as offshore wind farms, cable installations and port expansions. It is important that knowledge and understanding of the techniques and methodologies, that can reveal detail about the submerged heritage, are widely understood within the historic environment sector. It is therefore essential that national and local curators, and those working in the wider archaeological sector, are provided with an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and practical experience in marine geoarchaeological analysis methodologies; this knowledge will enable staff to provide informed comment and advice based on a detailed understanding of the nature and archaeological potential of these offshore sites.

English Heritage commissioned COARS, University of Southampton, to undertake project 6205, “Development and delivery of a pilot marine geotechnical training course for archaeologists”, under the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) stream 2D2. The anticipated project outcome will be the delivery of a greater understanding of the skills shortages in this area, through a research component, and then use this information, in tandem with the decades of experience of the project team, to provide a pilot training course in marine geoarchaeological analysis (with a supporting toolkit of learning materials) for heritage practitioners in curatorial, investigation and research roles. The University of Southampton has been teaching Marine Geoarchaeology to Masters Maritime Archaeology students for fifteen years, throughout this time through combining the staff and resources of the Ocean and Earth Science and Archaeology Departments and world-class facilities available at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

This report details the methodology and results of the research component into skills shortages that exist within the area of marine geotechnical training for archaeologists. The research exercise was undertaking using an online survey which attracted 224 separate views and a total of 67 respondents who completed the survey.



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