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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Research project: Acoustic methods in marine archaeology - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

Resolving the challenges of imaging buried artefacts in the marine environment.

Marine archaeology
Marine archaeology

Attempts to image buried artefacts in the marine environment had previously met with very limited success, due to the equipment available, inappropriate data collection and processing methods, and a dearth of information on the acoustic properties of common archaeological materials (specifically wood).

In our grant application it was identified that a combination of precise navigation and high resolution, sub-bottom profiling (Chirp) and physical experiments would resolve these problems. This would enable the accurate location of archaeological material within the top 30 metres of marine sediments. Finally, it was also considered essential that isolated archaeological sites need to be understood within the context of their contemporary landscape. While inter-tidal and sub-tidal environments may militate against the survival of some classes of archaeological material, they promote the preservation of others. Often this is due to structures, objects and their associated landscapes being protected by accumulating sedimentary deposits. Therefore the aim was to not only comprehensively model individual artefacts, but also to place them in their geomorphic context.

Associated research themes

Maritime archaeology

Related research groups

Centre for Maritime Archaeology
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