The results of the Dunwich project are important for five main reasons:

  1. These are the first formally identified mediaeval structures identified by geophysical survey in UK coastal waters.
  2. The project has demonstrated the preservation of larger medieval stone structures in the coastal zone, and their close proximity to their original locations after up to 500 years of submergence.
  3. The survey confirms the existence of church ruins from the former medieval town of Dunwich, and pinpoints their precise position. They suggest that other church structures are likely to exist beneath the sand banks inshore and over the eastern half of the town.
  4. The survey has demonstrated the value of integrated cartographic and geophysical survey as a means for locating and identifying maritime heritage from former medieval settlements located in sites of poor visibility and medium energy coastal environments. This opens up the challenge of how to legislate for the protection of non-wreck heritage in the coastal zone, and offers the potential for exploring the 250+ other sites located around the southern north sea basin.
  5. Finally, the outputs from the project, have been used to develop new learning materials in support of the Dunwich Museum trust and to promote a wider understanding of the story and investigation of Dunwich.


Sear, D.A., Bacon,S.R., Murdock, A.P., Donaghue, G., Baggaley, P., Sera, C., and Lebas, T.P., 2011, Cartographic, geophysical and diver surveys of the medieval town site at Dunwich, Suffolk, England. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 40; 1, 113-132.

Sear, D.A., Bacon,S.R., Murdock, A.P., Donaghue, G., Lebas, T.P., 2009, Dunwich 2008 Project Report to Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, English Heritage & Dunwich Museum Trust, Unpublished GeoData Report No. UC1064, 58p.

Sear, D.A. (2011) Presentation to Dunwich Learning from the past Workshop, Dunwich Reading Room.