Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Ground Penetrating Radar

GPR is particularly suitable for the detection of masonry structures, hypogea and stratigraphic layers

The ground penetrating radar, also known in the literature as GPR, is a versatile tool for geophysical survey. It involves transmitting high frequency electromagnetic pulses form a surface antenna into the ground (frequency range between 10 and 2000 MHz) and recording electromagnetic waves reflections by a receiver antenna. If electromagnetic waves strike an object they will be bounced back to the surface. The time elapsed between the pulse being sent and it being received back will provide evidence of depth. The reflections of EM waves can be caused by changes of electrical properties, water content and lithological properties of the ground. In GPR surveys for archaeological purposes, those reflections are usually produced by buried walls, hypogea, tunnels, metal objects and stratigraphic layers. The post-processing software allows to produce the so-called time slices maps, two-dimensional detailed representations of GPR anomalies at a given depth. The ground penetrating radar provides the best results when it is used on low attenuation soils, characterized by a low electrical conductivity, such as sand, rock, ice, etc. Otherwise, it is much less effective when operating in high-attenuation soils such as clay, saturated silts and soils containing water with high concentration of salts.

Example of ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey in the Basilica and Abbey of St. Peter (Perugia)

The instrument used by ArcheoRes - Archaeological Research Group is a Mala X3M with 250 and 500 MHz antennas.


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