Coastal & Marine Consultancy Services


We are the leading provider of marine archaeological services in the UK and our experienced team of experts is one of the largest operating today. With a strong reputation for quality and innovation, we combine academic rigour with a highly practical focus on clients' requirements. Our Coastal & Marine teams are based in Salisbury and Edinburgh, and provide heritage services nationally and internationally. 
Browse through the links on the right to see the
Coastal & Marine consultancy services.
to see the full range of Coastal & Marine services click here.
to see the full range of Wessex Archaeology services click here.

Advice & scoping

Scoping reports provide an initial review of available data relating to a given study area, generated by consulting a variety of marine and terrestrial data sources listed in both national and local inventories. Where relevant, scoping reports will provide cost estimates for the supply of a full dataset as well as details of available data formats.
This type of report forms a springboard for the next stage of archaeological investigation, such as an impact assessment, and is appropriate for marine, inter-tidal and terrestrial sites. Whether used to scope the data for a large offshore area or for smaller sites of proposed development, this is a cost-effective overview of available data relating to your development site or sites and provides an insight into how future phases of archaeological work may progress. In addition, using our commercial knowledge Wessex Archaeology can provide advice on what level of archaeological investigation your scheme may require and how to take this forward.

Environmental Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Zonal Environmental Assessment (ZEA), Preliminary Environmental Impact (PEI), Regional Environmental Assessment (REA)
Either following a scoping study or as the first stage of investigation, an environmental assessment provides a thorough review of all known and suspected archaeological sites, features and layers that may lie within a development or study area. Potential impacts are highlighted and mitigation options are recommended. These can be done at a number of scales appropriate to the scale of the development and where in the consulting process they fit. They can be zonal for a review of a whole offshore wind farm zone, regional for example in regard to a collection of geographically related marine aggregate licenses or may be a preliminary impact assessment to guide wider decision making and highlight issues at an appropriate scale.
These studies form the basis of planning application and approval and are important for curators, planners and developers alike. Drawing on all available datasets, from the National Record of the Historic Environment or equivalent, to geophysics, bore-holing, grab-sampling, UKHO records, diver and ROV surveys, an EIA is a comprehensive investigation into your site. Our environmental assessments have been used by curators to inform planning for a large range of offshore projects including major renewable energy developments and mineral extraction sites. Let us use our combination of academic diligence and commercial experience to provide the best possible understanding of any heritage impacts and how your development can respect, protect or enhance heritage receptors during work offshore. 

Desk-Based Assessment (DBA)

A Desk-Based Assessment takes into consideration all known records relating to a defined area to gauge the archaeological potential of a site and understand how best to work with and protect it during development. Wessex Archaeology will consult all known historical and archival sources relating to your study area, from National Record of the Historic Environment or local Historic Environment Records, to photographic and other sources, to create a comprehensive overview of the history and prehistory of your site at a scale appropriate to each development. This can inform future work and shape the way that archaeological research progresses, giving developers and curators an insight into the site.
Example Projects
Early Ships & Boats
Scapa Flow Wreck Survey
Assessing Boats & Ships
The Wreck of the ss Mendi
England's Historic Seascapes

Written Schemes of Investigation (WSI)

Following an Environmental Impact Assessment, curators may require a variety of means of investigation be carried out within a site to understand and protect heritage prior to the commencement of development. This can vary from excavation or geophysical survey to diving investigation or geotechnical sampling. A WSI outlines known and potential archaeological features and deposits and proposes a structure for exploring them using the latest, most appropriate and cost-effective archaeological techniques. 
This document is crucial for the planning stages of any archaeological project and helps to determine and clarify exactly what work is needed on a site. This will be agreed by the client and by the national curator prior to the start of archaeological investigation ensuring that your development receives the archaeological support necessary for gaining planning approval and discharging any conditions set. Wessex Archaeology is experienced in drafting WSI’s for a wide range of projects guaranteeing a proportionate and appropriate approach to archaeological mitigation, encompassing all of our academic and commercial knowledge.

Stakeholder & community engagement


Engaging people with your project can be vital to the success of your results. Wessex Archaeology’s staff are experts in producing materials, printed media, web-content and multimedia resources to promote archaeological projects and inform and educate the public. We are able to give presentations, answer questions and engage public and professional audiences with all aspects of heritage work in the marine and coastal sphere. Whether this is during the planning stages to gauge interest, during or after the project to disseminate findings or results, as part of the project itself to collect information or promote awareness, or to provide training in support of archaeological protocols, we can help.
Example Projects
Area 240
SAMPHIRE - Scottish Atlantic Maritime PAst: Heritage, Investigation, Reasearch & Education
ORPAD - Offshore Renewables Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries
OHCCMAPP - Outer Hebrides Coastal Community Marine Archaeology Pilot Project
FIPAD - Fishing Industry Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries
Explore the Seafloor

Strategic studies


Archaeology is a journey, from the distant past to the present day with every step along that route helping to bring us to where we are now. There are many ways in which we can explore this story, using shipwrecks to tell the tale of slate and coal mining in Wales, gauging the archaeological resource through the distribution and preservation of aircraft crash sites at sea, understanding the development of port towns through the study of historic warehouse buildings or looking at submerged landscapes to understand how our world was shaped in prehistory. A strategic study from Wessex Archaeology will take the extant remains and submerged features of times gone by and use them to reveal the human story of our past, providing a strategic resource for curators, developers and researchers.
Project Examples
Scottish marine historic environment data audit
Visualising the past in 3D: The River Arun
Aircraft crash sites at sea

Conservation management plans


Archaeology is a finite resource that needs careful management to ensure its protection. This can be done by excavation, by record, by research or by implementing an exclusion zone over a site to leave remains where they lie.
A conservation management plan from Wessex Archaeology will consider carefully the archaeology of a given site, vessel or building and suggest ways in which this heritage can be managed with minimal disruption and maximum effect. Bringing our experience in all aspects of marine and cultural planning and development to a conservation management plan ensures that proposed guidance is in the best interest of our shared heritage, protecting it for us and for the future.
Case studies
HMS Victory
HMS Caroline 
The Scottish Fisheries Museum

Advice on consents & designation


Wessex Archaeology has over 30 years’ experience of working within the heritage sphere. We know what curators and planners look for when considering the archaeology of a site and we can help guide you through the appropriate channels to ensure that your development progresses with a responsible and appropriate approach to our shared heritage. If you are considering archaeological mitigation and would like to talk to someone about how best to progress work, what level of mitigation is appropriate and what your next step should be, we can help. Contact Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine to see what we can do for you.

Historic vessel conservation & management


Drawing on our unrivalled experience in the maritime heritage sphere, we are able to offer conservation and management services to owners and trustees of historic vessels. Many precious and irreplaceable vessels of all sizes lie in dockyards, museums, private collections and on the foreshore.
Combining the value and accessibility of our knowledge and experience of historic ships with our expertise in the fields of public and professional dissemination, we can enhance these assets making them available to future generations. Preserving the evidence of our seafaring heritage through Wessex Archaeology’s conservation and management can add value whilst ensuring the on-going protection of our maritime resource.

Maritime heritage services


Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal & Marine team have a wealth of experience in interpreting, understanding, recording and protecting our vast maritime heritage, from diving on ship, submarine and aircraft wrecks, to producing gazetteers of known wrecks and recording and researching our maritime heritage. Under the water, on the foreshore, in museums and private collections, we have experience of studying the artefactual and documentary evidence that can tell the story of our seafaring past. 

Offshore Best Practice Guidance


As well as site or period specific studies – which include conservation management plans and strategic studies – Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal & Marine team can provide or contribute to over-arching guidance promoting best practice to a range of offshore industries. 
We have a proven track record in this, including working in conjunction with organisations such as PIANC - the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure – and The Crown Estate, to produce management documents outlining general heritage measures for use when planning and implementing a commercial scheme that may affect archaeological material or features. 
From assessing the local context of projects and the potential impacts on heritage, to collecting data about known or suspected sites and then applying mitigation and protective measures, these best practice guidance documents provide valuable and much-needed frameworks for development schemes. 
Drawing on the 25 years of experience of Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal & Marine team ensures they are effective, current and easily implemented. 
Click on the links below to see examples:
Ports & Harbours
Offshore Renewables
Marine Aggregates