What are archaeological geophysical surveys?

What are archaeological geophysical surveys?

Geophysical surveys are non-invasive methods through which it is possible to produce representations of subsurface archaeological remains by mapping their geophysical response

Geophysical surveys are non-destructive and non-intrusive methods to detect buried features when their physical properties contrast measurably with their surroundings. Archaeological remains can be considered as a modification of the soil, and thus the evaluation of differences between the physical property of soils and archaeological remains contained therein basically leads to the identification of “geophysical anomalies”. Geophysical survey usually describes the process of imaging these subsurface anomalies both as a sequence of two-dimensional slices (e.g. ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tomography ERT) or as two-dimensional maps (ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and electrical resistance meter). A great variety of geophysical methods are currently available for specific archaeological demands and the choice of either a single method or combined geophysical applications depends on the particular characteristics and size of the site.  In most cases, magnetometry and ground penetrating radar (GPR) yield the best results due the particular characteristics of the site. Certain conditions, such as an extensive investigation or a high conductivity ground, alternatively require the electrical resistivity tomography method (ERT). The geophysical surveys are also non-destructive practices that produce significant, new data while preserving the non-renewable archeological record. In any case, geophysical surveys are particularly needed prior to archaeological excavations as they represent a cost-effective and rapid means of assessing a site’s archaeology.

In this framework ArcheoRes operates across Europe, employing the most appropriate geophysical survey techniques to match local requirements to evaluate the unseen archaeology of a site beneath the soil. Thanks to the collaboration with the Center of Excellence of the University of Perugia (S.M.A.Art. – Scientific Methodologies Applied to Archaeology and History of Art), our services include intensive survey by ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, electrical resistance meter, electrical resistivity tomography covering sites of all sizes. We also deliver thermal imaging and metal detecting.


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