SEABED PREHISTORY R2FINAL REPORTVOLUME V: EASTERN ENGLISH CHANNEL
This study forms Volume V of the ‘Seabed Prehistory: Gauging the Effects of MarineAggregate Dredging - Final Report’ commissioned by English Heritage (EH) and undertaken by Wessex Archaeology (WA). It was funded through Round 2 of the Aggregate LevySustainability Fund (ALSF) distributed by the Department for Environment, Food and RuralAffairs (DEFRA). The ‘Final Report’ comprises of eight volumes based on previous reportsaccomplished by WA for either EH or the Mineral Industry Research Organisation (MIRO),as part of Round 1 or Round 2 of the ALSF project ‘Seabed Prehistory’.In October 2004, WA was commissioned by MIRO to undertake the research project ‘SeabedPrehistory Round 2 – Gauging the effects of marine aggregate dredging’ under the financialsupport of the Sustainable Land Won and Marine Dredged Aggregate Minerals Programme(SAMP). This project extended the methodology of the ‘Seabed Prehistory’ Round 1 projectinto two additional aggregate dredging zones, namely Eastern English Channel and theHumber.In Round 2 year 2 the project focussed on the Eastern English Channel dredging zone. Thestudy area (36km
) lies approximately 30km offshore south-west of Beachy Head, WestSussex, between the licensed aggregate areas 464 West and 464 East.The analysis of the general pattern of prehistoric occupation of southern Britain and northernFrance showed that this part of Europe has been inhabited since the Lower Palaeolithic period. The distribution of the sites on the two coastlines suggested a link between the twoareas. The number of archaeological sites on the coasts of southern Britain and northernFrance dating from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Mesolithic also suggested that, during timesof lower sea levels, there was probably exploitation, and possibly inhabitation, of exposedland between the current coastlines defining the English Channel. The presence of palaeochannels within the study area is significant as much of the recovered prehistoricarchaeological material, particularly in northern France, has been found within river valleydeposits. These French rivers are known to have offshore extensions.The survey methodologies comprised bathymetric, sidescan sonar and shallow seismicsurveys as well as vibrocoring and grab sampling. All survey operations were conductedaboard the
MV Ocean Seeker
September 2005 by GardlineEnvironmental Ltd under the supervision of WA staff. A high quality dataset was acquiredincluding approximately 498 line kilometres of geophysical data, 16 vibrocores and 100 grabsamples.