Acoustic mapping of submerged Stone Age sites - a HALD approach

Ole Gron, Lars Ole Boldreel, Morgan Smith, Shawn Joy, Rostand Tayong Boumda, Andreas Mader, Niels Bleicher, Bo Madsen, Deborah Cvikel, Bjorn Nilsson, Arne Sjostrom, Ehud Galili, Egon Normark, Changquin Hu, Qunyan Ren, Philippe Blondel, Xing Gao, Petra Strakendal, Antonio Dell'Anno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acoustic response from lithics knapped by humans has been demonstrated to facilitate effective detection of submerged Stone Age sites exposed on the seafloor or embedded within its sediments. This phenomenon has recently enabled the non-invasive detection of several hitherto unknown submerged Stone Age sites, as well as the registration of acoustic responses from already known localities. Investigation of the acoustic-response characteristics of knapped lithics, which appear not to be replicated in naturally cracked lithic pieces (geofacts), is presently on-going through laboratory experiments and Finite Element (FE) modelling of high-resolution 3D-scanned pieces. Experimental work is also being undertaken, employing chirp sub-bottom systems (reflection seismics) on known sites in marine areas and inland water bodies. Fieldwork has already yielded positive results in this initial stage of development of an optimised HALD (Human-Altered Lithic Detection) method for mapping submerged Stone Age sites. This paper reviews the maritime archaeological perspectives of this promising approach, which potentially facilitates new and improved practice, summarizes existing data, and reports on the present state of development. Its focus is not reflection seismics as such but a useful resonance phenomenon induced by the use of high-resolution reflection seismic systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number445
Number of pages27
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021


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