Airborne Scanning

Jonathanm Benjamin et. at: Underwater archaeology and submerged landscapes in Western Australia 14.06.2018

This research aims to explore the submerged landscapes of the Pilbara of Western Australia, usingpredictive archaeological modelling, airborne LiDAR, marine acoustics, coring and diver survey. It includes excavation and geophysical investigation of a submerged shell midden in Denmark toestablish guidelines for the underwater discovery of such sites elsewhere.

Since 65 000–50 000 years ago—the currently accepted earliest date range for human entry into Australia and New Guinea (Veth 2017)—one third of the continental land mass has been drowned by post-glacial sea-level rise (Figure 1). Based on work being conducted in other parts of the world, there is good reason to suppose that this drowned territory offered attractive resources for human occupation, and that some palaeoenvironmental and archaeological features of this landscape have survived inundation and can be retrieved by underwater exploration (Benjamin et al. 2011; Evans et al. 2014; Bailey et al. 2017). Relatively little underwater exploration has so far taken place in Australia. Yet investigations of this type are particularly important here, given that the earliest human colonisation happened during a period when landfall and the earliest processes of settlement and dispersal must have first occurred in coastal territory that is now inundated (Nutley 2014; Ward et al. 2015). This project is the first in Australia to explore systematically the drowned continental shelf, and to integrate the resulting data with the existing on-land terrestrial
record of human occupation, using a full range of acoustic, imaging, geoarchaeological and archaeological techniques.

The full article was published at Cambrige Core ( and can be found here