Handbook on Scientific Management of Cultural Heritage: Acoustic mapping of submerged Stone Age sites

Rostand Tayong Boumda, Ole Gron, Lars Ole Boldreel, Philippe Blondel, Bo Madsen, Egon Normark, Deborah Cvikel, Ehud Galili, Antonio Dell'Anno

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter presents a survey technique under development: acoustic mapping of submerged Stone Age sites. While it has been established that reasonable amounts of man-knapped flint pieces can be excited and respond to an acoustic signal, even though covered by meters of sea floor sediment, it is not yet known how small assemblages of knapped flint pieces one can obtain a response from and how deep in the sea floor. It also remains to be demonstrated that other knapped materials than flint (obsidian, quartzite, basalt, etc.) can respond in a similar way even though with some characteristics potentially differring from those registered from flint. This technique will facilitate a much more effective and cheap mapping of submerged Stone Age sites with knapped lithics than those available at present. Especially the deep sites down to the approximately 120 m deep coastlines of the glaciations, which are very difficult to localise today, represent an important research potential. In general the highly productive coast lines must be assumed to have played an important economic from the Palaeolithic and upwards, which means that we miss an important part of the picture of the hominide cultural development. In spite of the promising perspective of methodological improvement one must be aware that the acoustic method will not be able to map Stone Age sites without knapped lithics. This chapter discusses the method’s basic technological principles, experimental results elucidating its potential, and some results it has produced.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


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