The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-5/W7
11 Aug 2015
 | 11 Aug 2015

Development of Tools and Techniques to Survey, Assess, Stabilise, Monitor and Preserve Underwater Archaeological Sites: SASMAP

D. J. Gregory

Keywords: Underwater cultural heritage, in situ preservation, location, assessment, management, monitoring

Abstract. SASMAP’s purpose is to develop new technologies and best practices in order to locate, assess and manage Europe’s underwater cultural heritage in a more effective way than is possible today. SASMAP has taken an holistic- and process- based approach to investigating underwater environments and the archaeological sites contained therein. End user of the results of SASMAP are severalfold; i) to benefiet the SMEs involved in the project and development of their products for the offshore industry (not just for archaeological purposes) ii) a better understanding of the marine environment and its effect on archaeological materials iii) the collation of the results from the project into guidelines that can be used by cultural resource managers to better administer and optimise developer lead underwater archaeological project within Europe in accordance with European legislation (Treaty of Valetta (1992). Summarily the project has utilised a down scaling approach to localise archaeological sites at a large scale regional level. This has involved using innovative satellite imagery to obtain seamless topography maps over coastal areas and the seabed (accurate to a depth of 6m) as well as the development of a 3D sub bottom profiler to look within the seabed. Results obtained from the downscaling approach at the study areas in the project (Greece and Denmark) have enabled geological models to be developed inorder to work towards predictive modelling of where submerged prehistoric sites may be encountered. Once sites have been located an upscaling approach has been taken to assessing an individual site and the materials on and within it in order to better understand the state of preservation and dynamic conditions of a site and how it can best be preserved through in situ preservation or excavation. This has involved the development of equipment to monitor the seabed environment (open water and in sediments), equipment for sampling sediments and assessing the state of preservation of wood, once of the common materials on archaeological sites. The guidelines and all information and experiences obtained during the course of the project will be utilised to enhance and develop existing legislation and best practice for mapping and preserving Europe’s underwater and coastal heritage. The project started in September 2012 and finished at the end of August 2015 and the aim of the paper is to give a brief introduction to the results of the project. Further information on the project is available at