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Geophysical Methods for Wreck-Site Monitoring: the Rapid Archaeological Site Surveying and Evaluation (RASSE) programme

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Abstract

Rapid advances in geophysical techniques over the past decade have provided the maritime archaeological community with significant opportunities for re-defining the procedures for wreck-site mapping, evaluation and monitoring. The techniques which offer most potential for high-resolution survey are acoustic-based and include sidescan sonar, swath-bathymetry sonar and multibeam sonar. These techniques were tested on an artificial test-site in Plymouth Sound and over the wreck of the Stirling Castle. Results demonstrate that the techniques can provide the maritime archaeologist with the opportunity to rapidly and cost-effectively map and monitor small, centimetric changes on sites, with the potential for long-term monitoring and management.

© 2009 The Authors

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