A field survey of the inter-tidal zone of the Suffolk coast and estuaries was carried out between May 2002 and March 2003 as part of a larger archaeological study of the Suffolk coast and its hinterland. A desk-based assessment, comprising study of aerial photographic sources, historic map evidence and documentary sources was begun in 1999. The field survey element of the project comprised a rapid ground-based survey, walking salt-marsh and estuarine shorelines of the rivers Blyth, Alde, Ore, Butley, Deben, Orwell and the north bank of the Stour, looking for and recording features, structures and finds in mudflats, salt-marsh and eroded land surfaces. Suffolk's inter-tidal zone had not previously been subjected to systematic archaeological study and its nature as a dynamic environment, subject to dramatic changes through deposition and erosion of sediments, meant that any archaeology present has been constantly under threat of loss without record. The main aim of this project has therefore been to locate and make a basic record of archaeological 12 identified, adding the information to the county Sites and Monuments Record. This information can be used both to re-locate sites for full recording, where they are believed to be of particular interest, or to monitor changes where they are deemed to be under threat. The survey will also help to better understand and characterise the historic nature of the inter-tidal zone, pinpointing any areas of high potential and enabling the provision of a more informed response to strategic coastal management and planning issues.
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