Round One

The work undertaken in the 2003 - 2004 season was the first round of work on the Seabed Prehistory project. This initial phase was funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) administered by the Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO) under the Sustainable Land-Won and Marine Dredged Aggregate Minerals Programme (SAMP).
The work carried out in 2003 - 2004 focused on the palaeo-Arun, a submerged prehistoric continuation of the Arun river, located approximately 10km south of Littlehampton on the West Sussex coast. Extensive geophysical surveys were conducted, using bathymetric and seismic survey. Geotechnical surveys, involving the taking of vibrocore samples and grab samples were also undertaken at the study area. These samples were subjected to geoarchaeological and environmental analyses; results from which were integrated with the geophysical and geotechnical survey results to reconstruct the prehistoric environment of the study area.
This first round of the project sought to test the effectiveness of using the above methods for assessing the archaeological potential of the study area. While seismic geophysical surveys and vibrocore geotechnical surveys have been successfully used in archaeology before, grab sampling was virtually untested as an archaeological method.