Search and Documentation of Underwater Archaeological Sites

Michael C. Tuttle

in The Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195375176
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Search and Documentation of Underwater Archaeological Sites


Archaeological survey is fundamental to archaeological data collection. Underwater archaeology is developing and maturing as a discipline. The levels of technology available for investigations are variable depending on the objectives of surveys. Prior to entering the field, it is essential to do a complete desktop research, an in-office examination of available literature, and to develop a survey plan. This article describes different methods and the tools used for probing, which are used for examining subsurface features or defining the extent of a site. Remote sensing is an effective method to search for cultural material in a marine context. Once a general survey has located acoustic targets, magnetic anomalies, or other areas of interest, a predisturbance site survey of the targets may be conducted. Accurate positioning during a predisturbance investigation is critical. With an area survey complete or a predisturbance survey conducted, the next step in the archaeological process is excavation.

Keywords: archaeological survey; underwater archaeology; remote sensing; probing; survey plan; predisturbance; positioning; archaeological process

Article.  8061 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Underwater Archaeology

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