Mixed method approaches to the investigation and mapping of buried quaternary deposits: examples from southern England

Martin R. Bates, C. Richard Bates, John E. Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The lower reaches of major river valleys usually present archaeologists with considerable problems where thick-sequences of stratified alluvium bury archaeology These situations are typical of the lower reaches of major river systems that are currently under intense pressure from urban development where the archaeological resource is consequently at risk. Here we demonstrate how mixed method approaches, utilizing a range of borehole methods, cone penetration testing and surface and subsurface geophysics coupled with microfossil assessment (Foraminifera/Ostracoda), can be used to model these deposits and predict locations and depths at which important archaeological remains may be located. The novelty of this approach is not in the application of individual techniques to the problem but in the combined methodology, which enables a structured and cost effective programme of works to be formulated and provides the best chance to understand the subsurface. Although this approach has been developed to facilitate the location of archaeological sites buried at depth within the route corridor of development projects it is also suitable for locating fossil-bearing sequences and mapping stratigraphical units in Quaternary science. We demonstrate the approach using two examples from southern England. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-129
Number of pages26
JournalArchaeological Prospection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • alluvial archaeology
  • subsurface mapping
  • geophysics
  • cone penetration testing
  • boreholes
  • microfossils
  • Pleistocene
  • Holocene
  • UK
  • SITE


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