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Archaeo News 

6 September 2003
The Royal Navy in search of prehistoric settlements

Wrecks and ‘drowned’ prehistoric settlements may be among the mysteries of the Solent channel (England) that could be discovered during the most scientifically advanced survey of the area, being undertaken by the Royal Navy.
     New hi-tech equipment is being used to produce pictures of what is on and below the seabed in an area. The geophysical survey – part of a £150-£200 million Portsmouth regeneration scheme – is being conducted by the RN Hydrographic surveying squadron’s smallest vessel, the 35ft long HM Survey Motor Launch (HMSML) Gleaner, which started her survey task on September 1 and will continue the work until September 12.
     Working under contract to the ministry of defence, the commercial company Wessex Archaeology is assisting a survey which will be carried out using a multi-beam echo-sounder, high-frequency sonar which can detect small items on or below the seabed and, for the first time, a computer-controlled camera system known as Remus.
     An initial assessment provided for mod by Wessex Archaeology has found that there are 174 known and documented wrecks and seabed obstructions in the Solent. Ancient wrecks could also be found as the Romans used the Solent sea routes. Other artefacts and structures may date back to the stone and bronze ages as 18,000 years ago the Solent was dry land that gradually became inundated.

Source: Royal Navy News and Events (3 September 2003), Article by David Prudames for 24 Hour Museum (5 September 2003)

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