Above: A representation of the
Stirling Castle site, showing the seabed profile in 2002,
2005 and 2006. The wreck is situated on the top of the mound in the
centre of the image. The mound slopes steeply into deep scour pits
to the north and east of the wreck, whereas the slope to the west
and south is less severe. Sediment has accreted over the entirety
of the site, apart from on the wreck itself (which is continually
exposed) on each successive year.
Survey data taken in 2002, 2005 and 2006 provides 'snapshots' of the
wreck site and the seabed around it. Using points on the structure of the
Stirling Castle itself to calibrate the surveys allows us to make quantitative
comparisons of sediment levels over this period.
Analysis of the changes in sediment profile around the site indicates
that there has been a general accretion of sediment between 2002 and 2006.
A part of the wreck mound, however, appears to have subsided into the
scour pit to the east of the site, or been eroded away completely.
Based on the observed increase in sediment height, and assuming a
continuation of the observed accretion process, we would judge that the
rate is not sufficiently great as to completely bury the wreck site, and
so protect it, in the next decade.
This best rate we can estimate, however, is based on three discreet
snapshots taken one or more years apart. Violent storms, which might
occur on average as often as every five or ten years, might strip large
amounts of sediment away from the site, and set the (re-)burial process
back many years in a few hours.
As a consequence, there is a need to continually monitor wreck sites
around the British coastline, to accrue data until a realistic model of
sedimentary processes influencing preservation of the site can be
established. It is only with such a model that a realistic plan for
managing and preserving sites like the Stirling Castle can be prepared.
Stirling Castle site overview.
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