England's Historic Seascapes: Southwold to Clacton

Oxford Archaeology (South), 2007

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Oxford Archaeology (South) (2007) England's Historic Seascapes: Southwold to Clacton [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000277

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Introduction

Welcome to the pages for England's Historic Seascapes Programme, Southwold to Clacton pilot study. The work was conducted by Oxford Archaeology. This is one of five pilots undertaken to develop the methodology for applying Historic Landscape Characterisation to the marine and intertidal zones. The project was commissioned by English Heritage and funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

Project Background

The overall project aimed to create a framework of understanding which will structure and promote well-informed decision-making relating to the sustainable management of change and conservation planning affecting the historic environment in the inter-tidal and marine zones. In effect this will create an integrated spatial planning tool and enhance our knowledge of a little understood historic environment.

The project is particularly significant at a time when pressure on coastal and marine areas is rapidly increasing in scale. Coastal development, marine aggregate dredging, construction of windfarms and port development and dredging are some of the main activities which can impact on maritime archaeology including submerged palaeo-landscapes, lost settlements, harbours and shipwrecks. As a result the government have recognised the need to develop frameworks for sustainably managing the marine environment.

This is Second Round of the Seascapes Programme, four pilot studies were undertaken to apply, test and develop the methodology developed by Wessex Archaeology for the initial Liverpool Bay pilot area. The four pilot studies examined how this methodology can be applied in different types of coastal and marine environment.

The study area

Oxford Archaeology's pilot area extends from Southwold in Suffolk to Jaywick in Essex. Its seaward boundary is the UK continental shelf, in this area the Median Line with Holland. The area has a rich maritime heritage and high archaeological potential. The entire study area was dry land prior to c.8000 BP and Prehistoric remains have been found on the coastline, as well as being dredged up from the seabed by fishermen just outside the area. Therefore the potential for the presence of submerged Prehistoric landscapes and other remains is high. The coastal area contains remains of Roman salt working. The position of the pilot area on the east coast has been key to its development and the area became important in the medieval period for continental trade. A number of prosperous ports grew up in the area, established on the wool trade. Later coastal trade became important to the area. Its position on the east coast means the study area has also been important for the defence of Britain at different times.

Application of historic seascape characterisation to the study area has resulted in the creation of 41 different character areas. The following pages contain character descriptions for each of the areas. These can be accessed by clicking on the map or the name of the character area.

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