Archaeology Courses

Learn how to use Side Scan Sonar in Maritime Archaeology – Shetland

Side Scan Sonar Image of the wreck of the Ilsenstein in Orkney

The NAS MAC Introduction to Side Scan Sonar course is now open to professionals working in the maritime industry and students of marine archaeology.

The two-day course is held in Shetland on 18th and 19th March 2017.

Course Aims and Objectives

This introductory course will provide an insight into the equipment, survey strategies, processing and interpretation of side scan sonar data in maritime archaeology. During the reinfield-side-scan-capture-annotatedcourse, students will learn how to plan and execute a side scan sonar survey, determining which survey methods are most appropriate in different situations. They will gain practical experience processing and interpreting the resulting data and will be made aware of protocols for disseminating the results.

Throughout the course, side scan surveys will be considered in light of other survey strategies available. Practical exercises will take place during the afternoon on both days and will include survey mobilisation, demobilisation, GPS positioning, data collection, data processing and reporting.

During the two-day course, students will examine:

  • Introduction to site types, targets and anomalies –which sites are best suited to side scan surveys
  • Designing a side scan sonar survey project: considerations and survey strategies
  • Types of side scan mounts and devices
  • Positioning: locating your sites
  • Practical: completing a side scan survey
  • Overview of other survey data processing packages, focussing in particular on Sonar Wiz 5 and Max View
  • Post processing and interpretation– guidance and recommendations
  • Practical: processing and interpreting survey data
  • Reporting and dissemination

Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will complete the course with an understanding of the principles and practice of side scan sonar surveys
  • The students will be able to identify the most suitable equipment and survey strategy appropriate to specific site types and conditions
  • The students will have participated in the design and execution of a small side scan sonar survey
  • The student will have undertaken some basic data processing and will be aware of national guidance for the processing and interpretation of side scan sonar data.

NAS Credit Allocation

  • 10 credits will be awarded to NAS members under the module Fieldwork National Occupational Standards for Archaeology Units: Unit code CU2099: Contribute to non-intrusive investigations

CIfA Endorsement

This course has been endorsed by the Charted Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) to count towards the required hours of continual professional development.

Cost for the course is £150 (excludes accommodation, ferries and meals)

For more information and to reserve a place e-mail:

Please note this timetable is provisional and subject to change.