Divers to examine coastal change

Archaeological techniques will be used to study long-term changes to the seabed

Author: Pat
24th November 2012
 

Images courtesy HWTMA

A new project known as Arch-Manche is using underwater archaeology to look at long-term patterns of coastal change.

shorelines have been changing all around Europe for thousands of years

It’s being led by the Hampshire & Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology based in Southampton as a four year project, along with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, the University of Ghent in Belgium, and Deltares in the Netherlands.

This group of expert scientists and keen divers will use archaeology to support coastal management and climate change planning around the English Channel.

Although coastal change tends to be thought of as a relatively recent problem, it has been happening all around the coast of Europe for thousands of years. On the shores of the English Channel are numerous historic settlements from 8,000 to 800 years old, which have the potential to tell us more about the patterns of this change.

In the south coast of England archaeologists from the HWTMA have splashed in to the Solent and Langstone Harbour. The harbour has a long history of occupation and use, stretching from the early Stone Age right through to the present day and has changed a great deal over that time.

The harbour is an eroded inland basin of which the islands at the north end are the last remains of the archaeological deposits that are now threatened by erosion.

These deposits and the fact that there are large areas of submerged landscape make Langstone Harbour an ideal case study for the Arch-Manche project. The archaeological deposits and environmental data are readily available in the intertidal zone and on the coast, both of which can contribute data towards the understanding of coastal climate change within the harbour.

Archaeological sites in the project partner countries have also been investigated over the last few months. In July, archaeologists from the HWTMA joined colleagues in France to carry out investigations of the ‘Petit Taureau’ fish traps at Servel-Lannion in Brittany.

To mark the launch of the project, the new project website has been made live at http://archmanche.hwtma.org.uk

 
 
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