Fully submerged shipwreck sites act as open systems, with the exchange of material (sediment, water, organic and inorganic objects) and energy (wave, tidal, storm) across system boundaries. Formation processes at wreck sites are driven by some combination of chemical, biological and physical processes, with physical processes dominant in initial phases of site formation. Scouring and associated depositional patterns that form in response to hydrodynamic forcing are commonly the dominant physical processes acting at shipwreck sites. Scour is initiated by the introduction of a shipwreck to the seafloor, leading to increases in flow velocity and turbulent intensity around the structure. Near-field and far-field scour pits form at wreck sites due to the interaction of horseshoe and lee wake vortices with the mobile substrate. The morphology of resultant scour signatures are controlled by the orientation of the wreck structure in relation to the prevailing hydrodynamic regime, the morphology and size of the wreck and individual site components, the hydrodynamic regime (currents, waves or combined waves and currents), bathymetry and the geology of the site (seafloor and sub-surface conditions). Individual objects or artefacts may act as nuclei to promote scour at a local scale. Under high-energy conditions, groups of artefacts and/or disarticulated structural components emanating from a wreck may compound natural scour processes by rolling or sliding. Under suitable environmental conditions, wreck-associated scour features can be preserved in the sedimentary record. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Journal of Archaeological Science|
|Early online date||20 Mar 2006|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2006|