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The University of Southampton

SOES6061 Marine Geoarchaeology

Module Overview

This module covers all key aspects of the relatively new discipline of marine geoarchaeology for both the academic and commercial sectors. The course will develop the techniques required to undertake a geoarchaeological assessment of both wrecks and submerged archaeological landscapes in coastal and full marine settings. The students will work with real data as well as being exposed to the principal analytical techniques both in the field (one day boatwork) and the laboratory.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. To provide an understanding of what approaches are used by academia and the commercial sector to investigate the geoarchaeological record. 2. To provide the students with the skills set to be able to undertake a full geoarchaeological assessment of a marine or coastal site (from desk based analysis to field based data - acquisition, processing and interpretation. 3. To provide an understanding of how marine and coastal environments impact and/or enhance the archaeological record.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Knowledge of all of the key topics covered
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • team working
  • report writing
  • oral presentations
  • time management
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Plan and execute a geoarchaeological assessment of coastal or full marine archaeological site.
  • Be able to acquire, analyse and evaluate a wide range of archaeological, geological and oceanographic data including heritage records; in situ and remotely (Lidar) acquired topographic data; bathymetric and some sub-surface seismic data; hydrodynamic data; hand auger sediment and faunal samples.
  • Place local site studies in both regional and global contexts.
  • Have a full appreciation of the key issues in marine geoarchaeology in terms of both submerged landscape studies and archaeologically specific site dynamics.
  • Have confidence in orally presenting in extended format integrated archaeological and earth science material.
  • Write a full geoarchaeological report of a field site to English Heritage standards.


Refer to Overview and Module Aims.

Special Features

Presented in collaboration with Archaeology, Humanities Faculty (co-ordinator Dr Fraser Sturt). Restricted to MSci Geology /MSci Geophysics/MSci Oceanography programmes and Masters Maritime Archaeology only

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Study time allocation Contact hours: 54.5 Private study hours: 96.5 Total study time: 150 hours Teaching and learning methods - Formal Lectures: 10 x 2 hour lectures - Practical sessions: 6 x 2 hour GIS sessions, 2 x 3 hour core logging practicals. - Project Review Labs: 4 x 2 hours - Field sessions: One boat day based session in the Solent. - Support: is provided by staff and/or postgraduate demonstrators where appropriate. Including four surgery sessions where questions to facilitate the field report can be answered. - Group Presentation and Interview: 1 x 30 minute minutes duration.

Practical classes and workshops34
Independent Study95.5
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Group Interview (20%): A 30 minute group oral presentation and interview based on the DBA work done at the end of First Term. To be assessed by academic staff and where possible external practitioners. Tests All Learning Outcomes 5000 Word Geoarchaeological Project Report (75%): Tests All Learning Outcomes. GIS Map Package Submission (5%): Test GIS database skills


MethodPercentage contribution
GIS Map Package 5%
Group interview  (30 minutes) 20%
Project report 75%
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