Research Submission: Detecting Submerged Precontact Sites

02/09/2021 4:43 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

This research paper was submitted by ACRA member firm SEARCH, Inc.

ACRA member firm SEARCH, Inc., along with other collaborators, recently published results of a new method for detecting submerged Stone Age sites. SEARCH Submerged Precontact sector lead Shawn Joy and colleagues developed this approach at locations across the globe. This new technique has implications in the CRM industry, particularly in certain market sectors like Offshore Wind.

From the abstract: 

Acoustic response from lithics knapped by humans has been demonstrated to facilitate effective detection of submerged Stone Age sites exposed on the seafloor or embedded within its sediments. This phenomenon has recently enabled the non-invasive detection of several hitherto unknown submerged Stone Age sites, as well as the registration of acoustic responses from already known localities. Investigation of the acoustic-response characteristics of knapped lithics, which appear not to be replicated in naturally cracked lithic pieces (geofacts), is presently on-going through laboratory experiments and finite element (FE) modelling of high-resolution 3D-scanned pieces. Experimental work is also being undertaken, employing chirp sub-bottom systems (reflection seismic) on known sites in marine areas and inland water bodies. Fieldwork has already yielded positive results in this initial stage of development of an optimised Human-Altered Lithic Detection (HALD) method for mapping submerged Stone Age sites. This paper reviews the maritime archaeological perspectives of this promising approach, which potentially facilitates new and improved practice, summarizes existing data, and reports on the present state of development. Its focus is not reflection seismics as such, but a useful resonance phenomenon induced by the use of high-resolution reflection seismic systems.

The full open access paper is available here.

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