Determining Potential: Onshore/Offshore Prehistory. Historic England Project 6918

Fraser Sturt, Tyra Standen, Michael Grant, Justin Dix, 2017

Data copyright © Dr Fraser Sturt unless otherwise stated


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https://doi.org/10.5284/1041582
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Fraser Sturt, Tyra Standen, Michael Grant, Justin Dix (2017) Determining Potential: Onshore/Offshore Prehistory. Historic England Project 6918 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1041582

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Introduction

Determining Potential: Onshore/Offshore Prehistory. Historic England Project 6918

This project was commissioned to consider if we might be able to move from generic to more specific understandings of potential with regard to submerged prehistory, and how these approaches might be evaluated. In this light a study area was chosen that would allow leverage of onshore and offshore data gained over several decades of research; the Bristol Channel, Somerset Levels and Severn Estuary region. In particular this project had three overarching goals:

  • Assess the efficacy of predictive modelling for the determination of the potential for submerged prehistoric archaeology in English waters;
  • Evaluate the range of methods open to archaeologists when assessing the potential for submerged prehistoric archaeology offshore, and how best to investigate/mitigate for it; and
  • Extend our knowledge of key inter-tidal and offshore sequences in a region already known for its nationally significant inter-tidal and onshore prehistoric record.

Each of the above aims was carefully chosen in order to aid future management and regulatory decisions, while directly improving our understanding of the regional archaeological and palaeoenvironmental record. In order to achieve this, a series of more specific project aims were developed:

  • Research aims:
    • To articulate methods via which we may refine understanding for identification of the potential for submerged prehistoric archaeology in England’s territorial waters;
    • To quantify the applicability of predictive models of site location and potential for submerged prehistoric environments;
    • To document how the results of best practice approaches to modelling relate to the known archaeological record when blind tested; and
    • To establish an integrated onshore - offshore account of the prehistoric archaeology within the Bristol Channel region at two resolutions: a baseline account of potential for the Lower (c. 1,000 – 40 ka) to Early Upper Palaeolithic (40 – 13 ka) and higher resolution account of the Upper Palaeolithic archaeology to the Early Bronze Age (13 – 4 ka).
  • Methodological aims
    • Develop exemplar methods for integrated onshore - offshore archaeological modelling of ‘potential’; and
    • Field test methods through which archaeological potential can be verified onshore and offshore (validation of modelling methods).
  • Management aims
    • To undertake fieldwork to identify areas of submerged prehistoric archaeology within the chosen study area;
    • Contribute to the development of effective strategies for managing and mitigating impact on the offshore archaeological resource;
    • To produce results from targeted work which will allow archaeologists, regulators and offshore industries to have greater confidence in the predictions made by archaeologists; and
    • Demonstrate the development of best practice through learning from international exemplars.