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The University of Southampton
Coastal and Offshore Archaeological Research Services (COARS)

Specialist services

In addition to providing a broad marine archaeology package of services, staff at COARS are highly experienced in a number of specific areas.

Surveyed Seabed Bathymetry

Marine Geophysics

We have 20 years' experience of collecting, analysing and the reporting of high resolution geophysical data. This includes topics as diverse as wreck based surveys, small object detection (including forensic work), Quaternary natural and archaeological landscape studies, neotectonics, and large scale sedimentological and structural analysis.

We specialise in using the latest cutting edge technologies to not only acquire data, but to facilitate seamless data integration and improved interpretation. This benefits clients through more accurate determination of areas of archaeological potential and streamlined pathways for mitigation.

Survey ships, based at NOCS, enable us to undertake work along the south coast of England, using sub-bottom Chirp (including the 3D Chirp system, co-developed by COARS staff) Boomer and Sparker sources, multibeam and sidescan sonar systems.

COARS’ expertise in marine geophysics, for archaeological purposes, is emphasised by the recent co-authoring of the English Heritage guidance notes on Marine Geophysics, published in 2013.

Offshore Palaeochannel Survey

Geoarchaeological Investigations

Our staff have extensive experience of running geoarchaeological investigations, both onshore and offshore. We are able to provide expert informed advice to guide you through the entire process from initial project planning to final dissemination and publication. We have direct access to many leading facilities and technical experts, across a wide range of fields complementary to geoarchaeology, within the University of Southampton itself. With such experience to hand we are able to provide a comprehensive package of services to suit both your requirements and budget, as well as impartial advice. Our links with specialists services within the University of Southampton include:

GAU-Radioanalytical (GAU)

British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility (BOSCORF)

APSS Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton

Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory at the University of Southampton (PLUS)

Modelling the distribution of Quaternary deposits to help predict the likely occurrence of archaeological material
3D deposit model

Deposit Modelling

Staff at COARS have extensive experience of producing complex sediment deposit models for archaeological purposes. Using existent datasets, as well as data collected during site investigations, it is possible to rapidly construct models to identify the presence of / potential for archaeologically material / horizons. Such models can be instrumental in both the prediction and contextualisation of archaeological material. These models can therefore assist decision making by planners, developers and archaeologists about the necessity for, and nature of, archaeological work in advance of construction / excavation. Our staff have led the production of many deposit modelling programs for both research agendas and in advance of large infrastructure projects, including:

English Heritage NHPP 4G1 (The Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic in the Middle Kennet Valley) and 3A1 (Determining potential: onshore / offshore prehistory) activities

A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme: Farndon Fields Late Upper Palaeolithic Site

London Olympic Park

Hinkley Point C Power Station: Offshore component

Side Scan Sonar image of Wreck, courtesy of London Array Ltd
Thames Estuary Wreck

Maritime material culture

COARS draws on the breadth of knowledge available in Archaeology at the University of Southampton to provide unparalleled support for the identification, analysis and evaluation of maritime archaeological material; from historic port infrastructure, through wreck sites, to the analysis of submerged prehistoric archaeological remains.

Publication of Results

All work undertaken by COARS is underlain by a strong academic background, with our staff all well published within their own specialist fields within archaeology and commercial archaeology practice. Such experience can ensure that the highest quality of output material is achieved. We are able to provide a high level of academic scrutiny and analysis of the data to target publication in specialist academic publications, or can provide publications suitable for wider public dissemination. Details of our publication record can be found here.


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