Survey Strategies and Techniques in Underwater Geoarchaeological Research: An Overview with Emphasis on Prehistoric Sites

  • Tine MissiaenEmail author
  • Dimitris Sakellariou
  • Nicholas C. Flemming
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)


Underwater geoarchaeological studies typically involve case studies that vary widely in scale, environment and stage of application. As a result, the range of survey techniques and applied methods is very broad. This paper aims to present an overview of state-of-the-art techniques and survey strategies for submerged prehistoric site evaluation. We focus not only on conventional techniques but also on technologies that were designed and developed for other research applications but which can or could be effectively applied to submerged prehistoric studies. Different techniques discussed in this paper include remote sensing (acoustic seafloor and sub-seafloor imaging, Lidar, electric and (electro)magnetic techniques), direct investigations (coring, sampling and excavation), 2D and 3D photographic techniques, and the use of remotely operated vehicles. Notwithstanding the enormous technological progress that has been made in recent years, a large number of challenges remain not only regarding detection and excavation (especially in deeper water) but also with regard to the cost-effectiveness of submerged geoarchaeological surveys. The set-up of ‘best practice’ guidelines and close(r) collaboration with industry may provide some solutions.


Technology Survey Methodology Submerged Prehistory Remote Sensing 



This review study was carried out in the framework of COST Action TD0902 ‘Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf (SPLASHCOS)’ and the Flemish IWT-SBO project ‘Archaeological Heritage in the North Sea (SeArch)’.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tine Missiaen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dimitris Sakellariou
    • 2
  • Nicholas C. Flemming
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Renard Centre of Marine Geology, Department of GeologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine ResearchAthensGreece
  3. 3.National Oceanography Centre, European WaySouthamptonUK
  4. 4.Sheets HeathWokingUK

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