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The University of Southampton

ARCH6119 Applied Maritime Archaeology

Module Overview

This fifteen credit module will introduce you to the theoretical, ethical, logistic, technical and legislative issues that have to be addressed if the theory and practice of archaeology are to be successfully applied in the investigation of sites underwater and/or in the coastal zone. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the logistical aspects of excavation strategy, as well as the equipment and techniques necessary for search, survey, excavation and recording underwater and/or in the inter-tidal/coastal zone. The course includes practical sessions on excavation and aspects of recording (see below). Non divers can participate on an equal footing to divers through alternative or associated activities related to recording and project supervision. This module is designed to underpin practical training and fieldwork, thereby complementing the more thematic approach explored in the first Semester Core Unit: ‘Maritime Aspects of Culture’. Assessment involves completing a portfolio of work that reflects the current requirements of applied maritime archaeology work in a professional context.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Define the strategies, procedures and techniques of excavation and recording in the intertidal zone and underwater
  • Identify the organisational, logistic and managerial processes necessary to ensure successful fieldwork
  • Undertake post- fieldwork data processing, including object recording
  • Explain the ethical frameworks within which responsible maritime archaeological fieldwork is carried out
  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of specific case studies.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Learn and apply new practical and theoretical skills
  • Produce academic/commercial standard reports and presentations
  • Plan, design and implement data collection and presentation.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate a maritime site and design a survey strategy
  • Apply a variety of survey methods including data collection and processing
  • Produce plans and other forms of output with the data from the above techniques
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate different research strategies
  • Identify appropriate methodologies matched to site type, materials and condition
  • Undertake independent research in the above areas in the execution of a field survey


Terrestrial methods: • Total Station, RTK GPS, • Drone AAV, • Photogrammetry • Laser Scanning • Traditional hand survey Underwater Methods • 3D recording • Photography & Video • Traditional hand survey • Excavation, airlift, water dredge Archaeological Illustration

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Practical workshops • Student presentations • Discussion seminars • Fieldtrips/Fieldwork Learning methods include: • Directed learning through lectures/seminars • Guided practical instruction • Independent practical survey work • Completion of portfolio items • Use of online resources • Use of library resources

Practical classes and workshops14
Wider reading or practice20
Follow-up work10
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Completion of assessment task50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Adams, J. (2013). A Maritime Archaeology of Ships. Innovation and Social Change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. 

Foley, B., Adams, J., Piechota, D., Giangrande, C. (2000). The Discoveries of ancient history in the deep sea using advanced deep submergence technology. Deep-Sea Research. ,1 , pp. 1591-1620.

Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (1993). Still at Sea. 

Bingham, B., Mindell, D., Wilcox, T & A. Bowen (2006). Integrating precision relative positioning into JASON/MEDEA ROV operations. Marine Technology Society (MTS) Journal. ,40 , pp. 87-96.

Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (1989). Heritage at Sea: Proposals for the Better Protection of Archaeological Sites Underwater. 

Tomalin, D., Simpson, P. & Bingeman, J. M. (2000). Excavation versus sustainability in situ: a conclusion on 25 years of archaeological investigations at Goose Rock, a designated historic wreck-site at the Needles, Isle of Wight, England. IJNA. ,29 , pp. 3--42.

Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee (1998). Code of Practice for Seabed Developers.. 

Singh, H., Adams, J., Mindell, D. & Foley, B. (2000). Imaging Underwater for Archaeology. Journal of Field Archaeology. ,27 , pp. 319-328.

Muckelroy, K (1978). Maritime Archaeology. 

Firth, A (1993). The Management of Archaeology Underwater. Archaeological resource management in the UK: An Introduction. .

Historic England. Management of Research Projects in the Historic Environment: The MoRPHE Project Managers' Guide..

Bowens, A. (ed.) (2008). Underwater Archaeology: The NAS Guide to Principles and Practice. 

Adams, J. (2002). Excavation methods under water. Encyclopaedia of Historical Archaeology. , pp. 192-196.

Ferrari, B. & Adams, J. (1990). Biogenic modification of marine sediments and their influence on archaeological material. IJNA. ,19 , pp. 139-151.

Green, J. (2009). Maritime Archaeology, a Technical Handbook. 

Ransley, J., Sturt, F., Dix, J.K., Adams, J. & Blue, L. (2013). People and the Sea. A Maritime Archaeological Research Agenda for England. 


Assessment Strategy

Informal feedback will provided throughout the module via lectures, practicals, seminars, workshops and tutor supervision. Detailed and constructive written feedback will be given for all assignments submitted. The module assessment revolves around the application of maritime archaeological thinking and techniques, to real-world situations. Students will select five portfolio outputs from a given list (example below), and complete the tasks required over the duration of the course. The portfolio tasks will comprise a mixture of written and practical elements to demonstrate analysis, and the application of techniques. Some of the tasks will be based upon field trips to appraise archaeological sites, while others will be based on objects/artefacts held within the archaeology department. Where practical, diving work will be included in a manner that assesses archaeological output, not diving technique.


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio assignments 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Students will need to provide appropriate PPE for intertidal investigation (safety boots/wellingtons, waterproofs)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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