Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nmvwc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-19T11:56:55.502Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Archaeological resource modelling in temperate river valleys: a case study from the Trent Valley, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

A.J. Howard
Institute of Archaeology & Antiquity, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK (Email:
A.G. Brown
School of Geography, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK (Email:
C.J. Carey
Birmingham Archaeology and VISTA Centre, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK (Email:;;
K. Challis
Birmingham Archaeology and VISTA Centre, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK (Email:;;
L.P. Cooper
University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK (Email:
M. Kincey
Birmingham Archaeology and VISTA Centre, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK (Email:;;
P. Toms
Department of Natural and Social Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ, UK (Email:
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]


Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Methods for mapping and determining the condition of archaeological resources while they are still underground have been in development for nearly half a century. The authors here offer an example from the frontiers of the art: the application of a package of remote sensing procedures not only designed to locate sites but to model the valley deposits which contain and cover them. The variation in success of different methods in different deposits offers a guide to the design of evaluation projects on sand and gravel terrain everywhere.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2008


Alizadeh, K. & Ur, J. A.. 2007. Formation and destruction of pastoral and irrigation landscapes on the Mughan Steppe, north-western Iran. Antiquity 81: 148–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, A., Howard, R. & Litton, C.. 2007. Warren Farm Quarry, Lockington Leicestershire. Tree ring analysis of timbers (English Heritage Research Department Report Series 101–2007), Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth.Google Scholar
Ashworth, P. J., Best, J. L. & Jones, M.. 2004. Relationship between sediment supply and avulsion frequency in braided rivers. Geology 32: 21–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baines, D.,D. Smith, G., Froese, D. G., Bauman, P. & Nimeck, G.. 2002. Electrical resistivity ground imaging (ERGI): a new tool for mapping the lithology and geometry of channel-belts and valley-fills. Sedimentology 49: 441–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barclay, A. & Hey, G. 1999. Cattle, cursus monuments and the river: the development of ritual and domestic landscapes in the upper Thames Valley, in Barclay, A. & Harding, J. (ed.) Pathways and ceremonies: the cursus monuments of Britain and Ireland (Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 4): 6776. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Bates, M. R. & Bates, C. R.. 2000. Multi-disciplinary approaches to the geoarchaeological evaluation of deeply stratified sedimentary sequences: examples from Pleistocene and Holocene deposits in southern England, United Kingdom. Journal of Archaeological Science 27: 845–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bates, M. R., Bates, C. R. & Whittaker, J. E.. 2007. Mixed method approaches to the investigation and mapping of buried Quaternary deposits: examples from southern England. Archaeological Prospection 14: 104–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bauer, A., Nicoll, K., Park, L. & Matney, T.. 2004. Archaeological site distribution by geomorphic setting in the southern lower Cuyahoga river valley, north-eastern Ohio: initial observations from a GIS database. Geoarchaeology 19(8): 711–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Best, J. 1988. Sediment transport and bed morphology at river channel confluences. Sedimentology 35(3): 481–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bettis, E. A. & Mandel, R. D.. 2002. The effects of temporal and spatial patterns of Holocene erosion and alluviation on the archaeological record of the Central and Eastern Great Plains, USA. Geoarchaeology 17(2): 141–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bewley, R. H., Crutchley, S. P. & Shell, C. A.. 2005. New light on an ancient landscape: lidar survey in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site: Antiquity 79: 636–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradbrook, K. F., Lane, S. N., Richards, K. S., Biron, P. M. & Roy, A. G.. 2001. Role of bed discordance at assymetrical river confluences. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 127: 351–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradley, R. 2007. The prehistory of Britain and Ireland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brandon, A. 1996. Geology of the Lower Derwent Valley. 1:10 000 sheets SK 33SE, 43SW & 43SE, part of 1:50 000 sheets 141 (Loughborough) (Onshore geology series technical report WA/96/07). Keyworth: British Geological Survey.Google Scholar
Brown, A. G. 1997. Alluvial environments: geoarchaeology and environmental change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, A. G. 2003. Time, space and causality in floodplain palaeoecology, in Howard, A. J., Macklin, M. G. & Passmore, D. G. (ed.) Alluvial archaeology in Europe: 1526. Rotterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Brown, A. G. 2004. Divisions of floodplain space and sites on riverine 'islands': functional, ritual, social, or liminal places? Journal of Wetland Archaeology 3: 316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buck, C. E. & Blackwell, P. G.. 2004. Formal statistical models for estimating radiocarbon calibration curves. Radiocarbon 46(3): 10931102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Challis, K. 2006. Airborne laser altimetry in alluviated landscapes. Archaeological Prospection 13: 103–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Challis, K. & Howard, A. J.. 2003. GIS based modelling of sub-surface deposits for archaeological prospection in alluvial landscapes, in Howard, A. J., Macklin, M. G. & Passmore, D. G. (ed.) Alluvial archaeology in Europe: 263–75. Rotterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Cooper, L. P. 2003. Hemington Quarry, Castle Donington, Leicestershire, UK: a decade beneath the alluvium in the confluence zone, in Howard, A. J., Macklin, M. G. & Passmore, D. G. (ed.) Alluvial archaeology in Europe: 2741. Rotterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Cooper, L. P. 2006. Archaeological assessment of the Trent-Soar confluence zone. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society 80: 125.Google Scholar
Davis, R. 2003. A Bronze shield fragment and spearhead from Elvaston Quarry, Derbyshire. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 123: 6370.Google Scholar
Duller, G. At. 2004. Luminescence dating of Quaternary sediments: recent advances. Journal of Quaternary Science 19(2): 183–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frere, S. S. & Joseph, J. K. St.. 1983. Roman Britain from the air. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Gaffney, C. & Gater, J.. 2003. Revealing the buried past: geophysics for archaeologists. Stroud: Tempus.Google Scholar
Garton, D., Elliott, L. & Salisbury, C. R.. 2001. Aston upon Trent, Argosy Washolme. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 121: 196200.Google Scholar
Guilderson, T. P., Reimer, P. J. & Brown, T. A.. 2005. The boom and bane of radiocarbon dating. Science 307: 362–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hamilton, W. D., Marshall, P. D., Howard, R., Toms, P., Brown, T., Carey, C., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Plicht, J. Van der & Cook, G.. 2008. Evaluating a multiple chronometric approach to dating palaeoconfluences. Unpublished report, English Heritage.Google Scholar
Howard, A. J. & Macklin, M. G.. 1999. A generic geomorphological approach to archaeological interpretation in British river valleys: a guide for archaeologists investigating Holocene landscapes. Antiquity 73: 527–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Howard, A. J., Smith, D. N., Garton, D., Hilliam, J. & Pearce, M.. 1999. Middle to late Holocene environments in the middle to lower Trent Valley, in Brown, A. G. & Quine, T. (ed.) Fluvial processes & environmental change: 165–78. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
Howard, A. J., Macklin, M. G. & Passmore, D. G. (ed.). 2003. Alluvial archaeology in Europe. Rotterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Howard, A. J., Macklin, M. G., Bailey, D. W., Mills, S. & Andreescu, R.. 2004. Late Glacial and Holocene river development in the Teleorman Valley on the southern Romanian Plain. Journal of Quaternary Science 19(3): 271–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Knight, D. & Howard, A. J.. 2004. Trent Valley landscapes: the archaeology of 500,000 years of change. Kings Lynn: Heritage Marketing & Publications.Google Scholar
Loveday, R. 2004. Contextualising monuments: the exceptional potential of the Middle Trent Valley. Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 124: 112.Google Scholar
Malim, T. 2000. The ritual landscape of the Neolithic and Bronze Age along the middle and lower Ouse Valley, in Dawson, M. (ed.) Prehistoric, Roman and post-Roman landscapes of the Great Ouse Valley (CBA Research Report 119): 5788. York: Council for British Archaeology.Google Scholar
Passmore, D. G., Waddington, C. & Schriek, T. Van der. 2006. Enhancing the evaluation and management of river valley archaeology: geoarchaeology, in the Till-Tweed catchment, northern England. Archaeological Prospection 13: 269–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pearl, F. B. & Dickson, D. B.. 2004. Geoarchaeology and prehistory of the Kipsing and Tol river watersheds in the Mukogogo Hills region of Central Kenya. Geoarchaeology 19(6): 565–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pickering, J. & Hartley, R. F.. 1985. Past worlds in a landscape (Archaeological Reports Series 11). Leicester: Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service.Google Scholar
Rodnight, H., Duller, G. A. T., Wintle, A. G. & Tooth, S.. 2006. Assessing the reproducibility and accuracy of optical dating of fluvial deposits. Quaternary Geochronology 1: 109–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Salisbury, C. R. 1992. The archaeological evidence for palaeochannels in the Trent Valley, in Needham, S. & Macklin, M. G. (ed.) Alluvial archaeology in Britain (Oxbow Monograph 27): 155–62. Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
Salisbury, C. R., Whitley, P. J., Litton, C. D. & Fox, J. L.. 1984. Flandrian courses of the River Trent at Colwick, Nottingham. Mercian Geologist 9: 189207.Google Scholar
Scurfield, C. 1997. Bronze Age metalwork from the River Trent in Nottinghamshire. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire 101: 2957.Google Scholar
Vandenberghe, J. & Overmeeren, R.A.. 1999. Ground penetrating radar images of selected fluvial deposits in the Netherlands. Sedimentary Geology 128: 245–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wymer, J. J. 1999. The Lower Palaeolithic occupation of Britain. Salisbury: Trust for Wessex Archaeology & English Heritage.Google Scholar