CAA Conference has ended
Tuesday, March 27 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm
1 - Data acquisition, processing and integration: A submerged Middle Palaeolithic site case study

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Digital data including geophysics, geotechnical and seabed sampling data is routinely acquired as part of offshore surveys for assessing submerged landscapes. Different software packages are used for acquiring and processing the different survey elements. However, recent developments in visualisation software now allow for a more seamless integration of datasets for interpretation. The potential for Middle Palaeolithic sites to survive beneath the sea in northern latitudes has been established by intensive investigation of a part of the North Sea known within Area 240; a marine aggregate licence area situated 10km off the coast of Norfolk, England. The fortuitous discovery of Palaeolithic handaxes and other worked flint in gravel dredged from Area 240 led to a major programme of fieldwork and analysis, funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund. The programme tested a range of methodologies to gauge their effectiveness in identifying and assessing sites of this type and produced an interpretation of the area set within its wider context. The investigations included: · Detailed re-examination of geophysical and geotechnical data from industrial surveys; · Intensive geophysical survey using four different methods of sub-bottom profiling (surface-tow boomer, pinger, chirp and parametric sonar); · Adaptation of ecological sampling methods to recover further worked flint from the seabed; · Coring to obtain complete samples of the sedimentary sequence from 10 locations in the vicinity of the site; · Paleo-environmental assessment and analysis, and scientific dating using radiocarbon and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL); · Overarching synthesis and interpretation. The investigations demonstrated the presence of landscape features ranging in date from >500,000 years ago to around 8000 years ago. The handaxes and other worked flint are associated with deposits dating to the Wolstonian period, between 250,000 and 140,000 BP. The investigations confirm that the artefacts are not a 'chance' find, but indicate clear relationships to submerged and buried landscapes that, although complex, can be examined in detail using a variety of fieldwork and analytical methods. This paper will focus on the digital acquisition and processing of geophysical data and the integration of the geophysics results with the spatial data generated from the geotechnical data that were used to investigate the site.


Tuesday March 27, 2012 2:00pm - 4:00pm BST
Building 65, 1173 Streamed into room 1093

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