Archaeological potential for shipwrecks

From Directions Magazine

The “AMAP2 - Characterising the Potential for Wrecks” 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.

The 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 Heritage’s 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.


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