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SeaZone on Archaeological Potential for Shipwrecks

By [email protected] - 10th March 2010 - 10:33

The âAMAP2 - Characterising the Potential for Wrecksâ project (AMAP2), commissioned in October 2009, is a collaborative project between SeaZone and the University of Southampton (UoS) which seeks to improve the management of the marine historic environment through the interoperability of reference and archaeological data for marine spatial planning.
Figure 1 - Amap 1 Final Report undertaken with Bournemouth UniversityThe aim of the AMAP2 project is to study relationships between the survival of shipwrecks and the natural environment. The results will be used to develop a characterisation of areas of maritime archaeological potential (AMAP) based on the environmental parameters affecting the survival of wrecks in seabed sediments, thus providing the basis for a more justified assessment of potential for unrecorded wrecks.Following the success of the AMAP1 pilot project in 2008, the AMAP2 project seeks to further the monitoring, mitigation and management of the marine environment for offshore industries such as renewable energy and marine aggregates by facilitating the assessment of potential threats to archaeological assets. This will be achieved by:(1) comparing and unifying wreck data acquired by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and held at English Heritageâs National Monument Record (NMR);(2) developing interoperability between the wreck data published in SeaZone HydroSpatial and historical data available from the NMR, thereby enhancing the usefulness and accessibility of both datasets; and(3) analysing the statistical relationships between maritime archaeological data and the environment. Improving the understanding of the relationships between wrecks and their environment, coupled with the results of seabed modelling undertaken by UoS, will provide a firm basis for interpreting the variables which affect the potential for wrecks to survive in different seabed conditions.The creation of a GIS-based characterisation of the archaeological potential for shipwrecks and the consequent enhancement of data, core to the aggregate licensing process, will enhance the approach to marine spatial planning and benefit the marine industry as a whole.The project will make best use of SeaZone HydroSpatial to develop a characterisation of the variables affecting the potential for archaeological materials to exist and survive on the sea bed. The ability to access bathymetry, sea bed geology, as well as wrecks and obstructions data, from a single consistent source and associate it with historical NMR data is of great value to this and any future projects where there is a need for cross disciplinary analysis. SeaZone will use in-house expertise in maritime archaeology, GIS and data management, plus staff experience in developing the concept and methodology for AMAP1, to undertake this project in close collaboration with UoS and English Heritage. Example of AMAP1 results are shown above in figure 1.SeaZone and UoS believe the project will help build firm foundations for future marine planning and research, promoting consistency, and encouraging the enhancement and interoperability of digital marine data.

Author: SeaZone Solutions

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