Magnetometry

Magnetometry

Magnetometry is the first technique considered for detailed  geophysical survey

Magnetometer survey offers the most rapid ground coverage of the various survey techniques and responds to a wide variety of anomalies caused by past human activity. It is cost-effective, it delivers reliable results and it ensures the coverage of large areas in a few hours of work (in good terrain conditions up to 10,000 square meters per day). It should thus be the first technique considered for detailed survey of an area and other, slower, techniques should usually follow afterwards, targeting smaller areas of interest identified by the wider magnetometer survey. Magnetometry is based on the measurement of localized variations in the earth’s magnetic field or its gradient. These variations – or magnetic anomalies – reflect the difference between the remaining magnetic susceptibility of archaeological targets and the magnetic susceptibility of the soil. It can also identify thermoremanently magnetised features such as kilns and furnaces as well as in-filled ditches and pits and areas of industrial activity (both recent and ancient). Unless composed of materials that contrast magnetically with the surrounding soil (eg bricks carrying a thermoremanent magnetisation), magnetometers do not usually detect wall footings directly and in this regard it is complemented by earth resistance survey.


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Example of magnetic map – 3 ha area (Bribirska glavica, Croatia)
project Varvaria – Breberium – Bribir held by Macquarie University.

The instruments used by ArcheoRes – Archaeological Research Group are the Geometrics G858 magnetometer with two sensors mounted vertically is a gradiometric arrangement and the fluxgate gradiometer by Geoscan Research mod. FM 256. Data are processed by specific software (e.g. MagPick, Golden Surfer, Oasis Montaj).

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