Open Access Extracting the cultural heritage: new challenges for the underwater archaeologist

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Analysis of archaeological sites stratified within marine sediments can open a window to cultures that are now lost between the waves. These sites and their environmental context harbour a resource that can also provide index points for sea level rise during a period of acute climate change. A decade of archaeological investigations in the western Solent by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, utilising divers and geophysical survey data, has led to the discovery of Mesolithic sites within submerged landscapes. They lie between 6.5m and 11.5m below British Ordnance Datum. However, the discovery of these delicate and vulnerable sites is presenting new challenges to the maritime archaeologist. The need to record, rescue and interpret the remains underwater is necessitating the development of new underwater sampling techniques.
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