Funding from English Heritage in 2003 allowed further excavation of the submerged landscape at Bouldnor Cliff. The opening up of an extended trench by divers using surface supply equipment early in 2003 permitted the new exposures in the trench to be sampled.
The newly exposed stratigraphic layers were exciting but suggested a complicated sequence of events. The lowest exposure contained fluvial gravels within sand and flint fragments. A small cluster of burnt flints were recovered from above this horizon which suggested burning and possibly a hearth. A silty sand layer above this contained freshly knapped flints.
Bulk samples were taken and also samples using specially constructed monolith tins which were subject to dating and specialist analysis. The specialists analysed pollen along with macroscopic and microscopic organisms in the sediments, which can help interpret past environmental and climatic conditions. These results could then help to reconstruct events which shaped the geomorphological evolution of the Solent.
The discovery of this Mesolithic site below the waterline outlined the need to look for other such sites beneath the sea. The sea level has risen by as much as 100m since the Mesolithic period in some areas around Europe, so these sites will long have been hidden from view. The investigations at Bouldnor can help us assess where best to look for other sites in the future.