Marine remote sensing and seabed characterisation techniques for investigating submerged landscapes off the northwest coast of Qatar

by Lucie Melanie Dingwall

Institution: University of Birmingham
Department: Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Year: 2015
Keywords: CC Archaeology; GC Oceanography
Record ID: 1404149
Full text PDF: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5700/


The Arabian Gulf is a relatively recent sea that formed as a result of post-glacial sea level rise in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Prior to this, the former Gulf basin was an open landscape, with a substantial river flowing through it. There is considerable potential within this former landscape for the preservation of drowned archaeological sites and palaeoenvironmental remains from the Early Holocene, and for the preservation of remains of shipwrecks from the Mid-Holocene onwards. Despite the potential, there has been very little research into this submerged landscape, largely due to the difficulty and expense involved. In order to begin to address the gap in knowledge, this research developed and tested new methodologies for the exploration of the submerged landscape within a defined Study Area off the northwest coast of Qatar. The methodology utilised marine remote sensing data, including sidescan sonar and LiDAR bathymetry, and drew on techniques used in terrestrial historic landscape characterisation and acoustic seabed classification, in order to zone the seabed in the Study Area and identify broad zones of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental potential and survival. The seabed characterisation has provided a framework within which to begin more detailed investigations of the submerged landscape, by defining areas of potential to target, and specifying appropriate techniques to use within those areas, in order to maximise the chance of successful exploration of the submerged landscape.