Toward the Remote Identification of Stone Tools in Submerged, Buried Contexts Using Acoustics


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Since the inception of geophysical survey, archaeologists have longed for the ability to detect the presence or absence of artifacts in buried contexts remotely. This ability is particularly desirable underwater, where accuracy in site location and efficiency in excavation are paramount given the expense and logistical burden associated with performing archaeology underwater. Generally speaking, traditional remote sensing instruments used in area survey, such as side-scan sonar and magnetometers, only identify underwater historic sites, or in rare circumstances, exposed prehistoric sites. The search for submerged prehistoric sites in buried geologic contexts largely relies on identifying high-probability landforms through sub-surface geophysics or bathymetric survey. However, recent research pioneered by Dr. Ole Grøn and colleagues demonstrates the potential for using acoustics to identify and map offshore prehistoric sites by remotely identifying human-worked flint. Here, we test the reliability and replicability of this method on submerged prehistoric sites in Florida. We present the results of controlled laboratory experiments on the acoustic resonance signatures (in kHz) of different stone tool raw material types. We then present the results of sub-bottom sonar surveys of fresh and saltwater prehistoric sites in Florida. Last, we discuss the implications of our findings for CRM, government, and academic archaeology.

Cite this Record

Toward the Remote Identification of Stone Tools in Submerged, Buried Contexts Using Acoustics. Morgan Smith, Shawn Joy, Timothy de Smet, Michael Faught. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450355)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26253