1. Review the effectiveness of existing technology for identifying and characterizing submerged and buried prehistoric archaeological sites.2. Critique and suggest changes to existing technology to improve the effectiveness for the identification and characterization of submerged prehistoric archaeological sites.3. Examine the "why" this is important to offshore technology regulation and management.
The process can easily be paraphrased as "sound, software, and three inch pipes" - the sound being the pulse from sonar or sub-bottom instruments, the software being the methods by which those pulses are processed and display, and the three-inch pipes, of course, denoting the coring tubes used to sample targets identified in using sound and software. In fairness to the methods discussed herein, their application has been, at best, uneven. The use of the first two technologies - sound/acoustic and post-processing software programs have been in regular use by geophysical contractors. The latter technology - sediment coring - has been utilized far less.
How effective has this methodology proven to be over the past thirty years? That is open to some debate and this paper will examine some reasons why this is so and suggest some possible alternatives. The overarching goal of this paper is to push beyond this methodology to potentially more effective technologies or at least improved usage of the current technology.
Submerged prehistoric archaeological sites are "hard problems" in terms of their discovery and characterization. Compared to submerged historic archaeological sites - primarily shipwrecks - those are "easy." This comparison of the use and effectiveness of technology is novel and additive.