Wessex Archaeology has been commissioned by English Heritage to undertake a Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey of South-East England, with teams from Gloucestershire and Cornwall County Councils contributing to the NMP phase of the project.
This project extends along the south-east coast from Kent to Hampshire, recording newly identified sites and enhancing existing database records.
The project area
The coastal environment is fragile and under threat from commercial development, reclamation and the processes of coastal change, including sediment deposition and erosion. It is thought that the rate of coastal change will increase in the future, partly due to postulated sea-level rise and climate change.
The study area follows the coastline of four counties; from Totton in Hampshire through West Sussex, East Sussex to Kingsgate in Kent. Wessex Archaeology completed 258 km squares of the NMP component of the SE RCZAS. The remaining 364.5 km squares have been divided between teams from Gloucestershire and Cornwall Councils. In urban areas, mapping is restricted to the seaward side of a line drawn 100m inland from the mean high water mark. Outside the urban areas, mapping extends to the nearest complete kilometre grid square above the mean high water mark.
Wessex Archaeology will bring this information together with their desk-based assessment to produce the Phase 1 RCZAS report.
Wide Range of Historic Sites
The historic environment of the south-east coast is rich and varied, with sites dating from the early Palaeolithic to the modern period. The majority of features identified at the start of the project dated to the Second World War. As most of these were soon removed after the war the aerial photographs taken during the 1940s are an invaluable resource for mapping the wartime landscape.
As the south-east coast was considered the most likely location for an invasion many of the sites are of the extensive defences laid-out from 1940 onwards but the project area also includes the important Royal Naval dockyard at Portsmouth.
Non-military features have included salt-production sites that are usually revealed by the waste mounds created in the production process and are known as salterns. The earthwork and structural remains of land reclamation, both successful and unsuccessful have also been mapped. A number of wrecks have also been seen, and the aerial photographs taken over a number of years have in some cases, provide an approximate date of abandonment.
The images used on this page are copyright English Heritage unless specified otherwise. For further details of any photographs or other images and for copies of these, or the plans and reports related to the project please contact the English Heritage Archive.
For further information on a project or any other aspect of the work of the Aerial Survey team please contact us by email via the link above.