Palaeochannels of the Trent Catchment

York Archaeological Trust, 2017

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York Archaeological Trust (2017) Palaeochannels of the Trent Catchment [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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Palaeochannels of the Trent Catchment

The Mapping the Palaeochannels of the Trent Catchment project commissioned by Historic England, aimed to enhance the record of palaeochannels within the Trent Catchment, creating a database comparable to that created by the Trent Valley Geoarchaeology project for Derbyshire (Baker 2003), and to further improve the database by including the analysis of lidar and other remote-sensing techniques. The pilot phase of the project within Nottinghamshire had the aim of assessing the feasibility of using multiple data sources to compile a comprehensive database of the palaeochannel record of the Trent Valley and major tributaries and to establish a more focussed methodology to complete the analysis of the entire Trent catchment. The initial report (Malone and Stein 2015) focussed on the Trent Valley and its tributaries within Nottinghamshire. Stage 2 expands the methodology to the entirety of the Trent catchment.

The combination of methods applied has proven very effective in producing a record of palaeochannel features for the Trent catchment. The combination of the lidar record of landforms with air photographic record of vegetation difference has allowed a much fuller understanding of the pattern of extinct channels across the gravel terraces and valley floor, and pilot survey greatly has increased the number of such features recorded in comparison to previous studies. The current study has increased the number of mapped channels from 1698 in Phase 1 to 7110 in total. Historic mapping provides additional information on channel migration (and more significant man-made diversions) within the last 200 years. Other remote sensing techniques (e.g multi-spectral thermal imaging) were examined at the pilot stage and, although promising, were not taken further owing to difficulty of data acquisition and lack of comprehensive coverage.

The project has succeeded in increasing considerably our knowledge of the palaeochannel resource of both the Trent valley itself, and of the wider catchment and has allowed the identification of a number of potential avenues for further research. The density and complexity of the palaeochannel record within the core Trent valley (the Middle and Lower Trent) means that this has produced the most coherent and complete record, however, significant numbers of previously unrecorded channel features were also identified within the wider tributary system and across the different landscape zones from the upper Trent and tributaries to the tidal regime of the Humberhead levels.