2.6 Methods

An increasing array of techniques is available for the investigation and mapping of palaeo-landscape surfaces that are both at the present seafloor and are currently buried beneath this.  The techniques are applied as part of routine surveys for industry (oil and gas site surveys, pipe line studies, geotechnical investigations, wind farm developments) and occasionally as bespoke surveys for archaeology.

Notable recent work is that by the University of Birmingham (Gaffney et al. 2007, see Figure 4). This has demonstrated the significant potential that data previously acquired by the hydrocarbon industry has in mapping buried landscapes.  The project, conducted in the southern North Sea, utilized a large 3D seismic data set to build near surface Holocene palaeo-landscape models.  The project mapped early Mesolithic surfaces that consisted of a complex river system with lakes opening out into large estuaries along an embayed coastline. The project covered 23,000km2 and provides the basis for targeted archaeology on likely habitation hot spots.

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