Rapid Archaeological Site Survey and Evaluation (RASSE)
Above: An animated introduction to RASSE; move
your mouse over the image to re-start the animation. [link: alternative description].
The deployment of high-resolution sonar systems for archaeological
investigations of submerged environments is a fast advancing field.
Realising the enormous potential of these systems depends on developing
optimum configurations for data gathering, and innovative approaches to
data processing that will improve artefact recognition, seabed
characterisation, and the measurement of diverse impacts on marine
The Rapid Archaeological Site Survey and Evaluation (RASSE) project
was a three-year research project funded by the Aggregates Levy
Sustainability Fund (ALSF), administered by English Heritage
and based at the University of St Andrews School of Geography and
For more information on the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund,
please check the link below: This link will open in a new window in
Bottom right: Logos of English Heritage, who funded the project
through the Aggregates levy, and The University of St Andrews, where the
project has been based. Links to all participating institutions are provided
from our links page.
The main aims of the project are to:
Optimise the potential of geophysical remote survey equipment for
the rapid, detailed investigation of submerged archaeological sites
and their immediate surroundings.
Establish the best configuration of acoustic instruments using a
combination of backscatter (sidescan) and bathymetry information.
Provide heritage curators with a range of deliverables that will
enhance the management of archaeological sites on a local and national
In 2006, the team trialled a towable sonar head platform.
The project has now completed and the final report is available. In addition, the team have developed some interactive
animations of their work.
Attempt to pick out seabed items on moving multibeam and sidescan sonar traces, as we have done on the
Plymouth Sound Test site.
Watch the sediment changes that have occurred between 2002-2006 on the dynamic wreck site of the Stirling Castle, Goodwin Sands.