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Coastal and Offshore Archaeological Research Services (COARS)News

COARS delivers expert training in Marine Geotechnical Investigations and Maritime Archaeology

Published: 15 January 2015
Training in core description

Between the 13th and 15th January 2015 COARS staff delivered both a unique training opportunity in Marine Geotechnical Investigations and Maritime Archaeology and a separate discussion meeting on the dating of Marine Sediments for Archaeological Purposes. These events brought together participants from a wide range of backgrounds, including curatorial, consultancy and research backgrounds, to learn through a series of practicals (computer and laboratory-based), lectures and discussions how best to understand, and in turn preserve, the maritime archaeological record.

On the 13th and 14th January 2015 COARS staff delivered a unique training opportunity in Marine Geotechnical Investigations and Maritime Archaeology. This course was commissioned by English Heritage in response to the rapid expansion of coastal and offshore infrastructure projects utilising geotechnical and environmental sampling survey programmes. The large volume of material generated has a wide range of applications for interpreting the archaeological record but there was a recognised paucity of practitioners entering commercial and / or local government associations with sufficient knowledge in marine geoarchaeology to meet the growing requirement. The training course successfully delivered a varied programme of practical (computer and laboratory-based), discussion and lecture based sessions to specifically develop knowledge, skills and best practice in marine geoarchaeology. Aspects of the course included hands-on instruction and experience of marine geophysical datasets, deposit modelling, borehole curatorial procedures and non-destructive core scanning, and core descriptions. Subsequent sessions including designing palaeoenvironmental and dating strategies along with data synthesis and reporting. This provided attendees with a robust baseline knowledge to recognise the nature and archaeological potential of offshore deposits.

On the 15th January a unique discussion meeting event was held looking into the dating of Marine Sediments for Archaeological Purposes. Experts from across the University of Southampton (Ocean and Earth Science, Archaeology and Geography) and the English Heritage Scientific Dating Team provided talks on a wide range of available dating technique suitable for dating very recent sediments through to those of 1 million years in age. This event brought together members from the very wide community engaged with the maritime environment and provided the opportunity to gain advice and discuss how, and when, different dating strategies can be put in place for dating deposits with archaeological potential. During breaks between discussions a tour of the dating facilities, held within the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, was also provided.

The three day event demonstrates both English Heritage's and the University of Southampton's ongoing commitment and inclusive approach to providing training opportunities to the benefit of the wider community. 

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