Integrated geophysical-geochemical methods for archaeological prospecting

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Persson, Kjell (2005)
  • Publisher: KTH, Mark- och vattenteknik (flyttat 20130630)
  • Subject: Geophysics | geophysical | geochemical | prospecting | archaeology | electric | magnetometric | Geofysik

A great number of field measurements with different methods and instruments were conducted in attempts to develop a method for an optimal combination of various geochemical and geophysical methods in archaeological prospecting. The research presented in this thesis focuses on a study of how different anthropogenic changes in the ground can be detected by geochemical and geophysical mapping and how the results can be presented. A six-year pilot project, Svealand in Vendel and Viking periods (SIV), was the beginning of this work in which EM- measurements, gradiometer and GPR surveys together with phosphate mapping succeeded in detecting settlements, mainly from the Iron Age. During the project, a new field kit for soil phosphate analysis was also developed and patented. Another major project was the examination of the Kings’ Mounds in Old Uppsala where a multi method survey including two different slingrams, three different types of GPR equipments and two different gradiometers was used for detecting structures inside the mounds. The Thing Mound was interpreted not to be a burial mound. The layers indicated by the GPR survey are most probably natural glaciofluvial layers. At the Eastern Mound the measurements detected an excavation tunnel from 1846-47, some known old brick furnaces from the time of building of the church, the original esker surface and the central cairn. The survey also detected two linear structures from the mounds base to the top and a depression under the mound in the old esker. The linear structures were interpreted as possible boulder rows and the depression as a possible older burial preceding the construction of the mound. Other surveys with slingram and GPR were used to detect subsurface features at historical gardens and historical glass works. A number of surveys to detect older church remnants were also carried out. In a project at Arethousa, Greek Macedonia, slingram measurements pointed out possible subsurface stonewalls and a possible hearth, which were confirmed later by excavations. At Old Uppsala, Sweden a GPR survey was successfully used for detecting the older cathedral under the present church. The overall results led to a recommended concept of combined methods for archaeological prospecting, especially in northern Europe. Slingram measurements of both electrical and magnetic components combined with phosphate mapping and GPR surveys proved to be useful methods for such prospecting.
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