ARCH06038 2019 Geophysical Surveying and Processing (Theory)
This module covers the theoretical principles of archaeological geophysics and prospection and the application of various computer programs that allow the processing of geophysical data and its integration with other forms of information. Students will study how different instruments measure geophysical properties of the earth and relate those to archaeological sources. Students will carry out a range of practical experiments and a geophysical survey of a local archaeological site.
On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
Describe the basic principles of the main geophysical techniques that might be applied in an archaeological context
Evaluate the merits and limitations of different geophysical prospection methods, data processing and interpretation
Theorise, plan and develop geophysical solutions to archaeological problems
Demonstrate basic knowledge of the use and application of dedicated computer programs for processing and presenting geophysical data
Analyse, evaluate and draw conclusions from geophysical data obtained in the field and/or data presented in problem-solving exercises
Teaching and Learning Strategies
Delivered via Lectures, Practicals and a Fieldtrip. The lectures will focus on the theorectical concepts of archaeological geophysics. The practical elements will allow the student to carry out basic assessments of soils and sediments and study the principles of magnetism and resistivity within a laboratory environment. Practicals will also present the student with real-world problems for them to solve. Outdoor practicals and a fieldtrip will allow the students to collect geophysical data and contribute to part of a wider archaeological project.
Module Assessment Strategies
1. The student will be assessed by presenting a grey-literature geophysical report to the group and communicate effectively their assessment of the success/failure of the outcomes.
2. The student will write their own 200-500 word abstract of a published scientific paper within a limited 1 hour practical environment. This will develop the students ability to critically asses detailed scientific data and synthesise the results in to a readable, accurate and informative abstract.
3. The student will complete a series of practical laboratory and field tasks to demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of archaeological geophysical techniques.
4. The student complete an MCQ to assess their theoretical knowledge and answer a series of directed problem-solving exercises.
Standard Procedures Apply
- Introduction to geophysical prospection in archaeology including a history of archaeological geophysics
- Examination of the reasons for geophysical survey in archaeology and reasons for choice of method
- Writing a geophysical report and reviewing geophysical reports
- Introduction to the concept of an integrated survey methodology and the importance of an accurately located geophysical survey grid
- Introduction to magnetic prospection
- Magnetic Susceptibility technique, principles, instrumentation, survey procedure, data processing requirements and case studies
- Magnetometry, principles, instrumentation, survey procedure, data processing and case studies
- Introduction to Resistivity survey
- The resistivity technique, principles, instrumentation, survey procedure, data processing and case studies
- Electrical Resistivity Imaging, principles, instrumentation, survey procedure, data processing and case studies
- Ground Penetrating Radar, principles, instrumentation, survey procedure, data processing and case studies
- Data and image processing, interpretation and integration of results with archaeological data
Coursework & Assessment Breakdown
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Write an Abstract to a Scientific Paper||Continuous Assessment||Group Project||10 %||Week 4||3,5,6|
|2||Presentation||Continuous Assessment||Assessment||20 %||Week 7||1,2,5,6|
|3||Geophysical Skills Passport||Practical||Individual Project||30 %||OnGoing||2,3,4|
End of Semester / Year Assessment
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Final Exam||Final Exam||Multiple Choice||40 %||End of Term||1,2,3,4,5|
Full Time Mode Workload
|Independent Learning||UNKNOWN||Self Study||4||Weekly||4.00|
Aspinall, A., Gaffney, C. & Schmidt, A. 2008. Magnetometry for Archaeologists. Lanham: AltaMira Press
Bonsall, J., Gaffney, C. and Armit, I. 2014. A Decade of Ground Truthing: Reappraising Magnetometer Prospection Surveys on Linear Corridors in light of Excavation evidence 2001-2010. In H. Kamermans, M. Gojda and A.G. Posluschny (eds). A Sense of the Past: Studies in current archaeological applications of remote sensing and non-invasive prospection methods. BAR International Series 2588. Oxford, Archaeopress, pp3-17.
Bonsall, J, Gaffney, C & Armit, I. 2014. Preparing for the Future: A reappraisal of archaeo-geophysical surveying on Irish National Road Schemes 2001-2010. Report for the National Roads Authority.
Bonsall, J. and Gaffney, C. 2016. ‘Change is Good: Adapting Strategies for Archaeological Prospection in a Rapidly Changing Technological World’ in F. Boschi (Ed.) Looking to the Future, Caring for the Past: Preventive Archaeology in Theory and Practice. Bononia University Press. Bologna, pp41-58.
Boschi, F. 2016. Looking to the Future, Caring for the Past: Preventive Archaeology in Theory and Practice. Bononia University Press. Bologna.
Campana S. and Piro S. 2009.Seeing the unseen – Geophysics and landscape archaeology. CRC Press, London
Clark, A. 1990. Seeing Beneath the Soil. Routledge
Conyers, L. B. 2004. Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology. AltaMira Press, Plymouth
Conyers, L. B. 2012. Interpreting Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology. AltaMira Press, Plymouth
Fassbinder, J.W.E., Stanjekt, H. Vali, H. 1990. Occurrence of magnetic bacteria in soil. Nature 343, 161 - 163 (11 January 1990); doi:10.1038/343161a0
Fassbinder, J.W.E. 2015. Seeing beneath the farmland, steppe and desert soil: magnetic prospecting and soil magnetism, Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 56, April 2015, pp85-95 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440315000618).
Gaffney, C. & Gater, J. 2003. Revealing the Buried Past: Geophysics for Archaeologists. Tempus.
Gaffney, C., Gaffney, V., Neubauer, W., Baldwin, E., Chapman, H., Garwood, P., Moulden, H., Sparrow, T., Bates, R., Löcker, K., Hinterleitner, A., Trinks, I., Nau, E., Zitz, T., Floery, S., Verhoeven, G. and Doneus, M. (2012), The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. Archaeological Prospection, 19: 147–155. doi:10.1002/arp.1422
Le Borgne E. 1955. Abnormal magnetic susceptibility of the top soil. Annals of Geophysics 11: 399–419.
Marshall, A. (2001), Functional analysis of settlement areas: prospection over a defended enclosure of iron age date at The Bowsings, Guiting Power, Gloucestershire, UK. Archaeological Prospection, 8: 79–106. doi:10.1002/1099-0763(200106)8:2<79::AID-ARP150>3.0.CO;2-W
Schmidt, A. & Ernenwein, E. 2013. Geophysical Data in Archaeology - A Guide to Good Practice. Oxbow Books.
Schmidt, A. 2013. Earth Resistance for Archaeologists. AltaMira Press, Plymouth
Schmidt, A., Linford, P., Linford, N. David, A., Gaffney, C., Sarris, A. and Fassbinder, J. 2016. Guidelines for the use of geophysics in archaeology. Questions to Ask and Points to Consider. EAC Guidelines 2.
Journal of Archaeological Science
Journal of Applied Geophysics
Annals of Geophysics
English Heritage Geophysical Survey Database: https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/ehgsdb_eh_2011/
National Roads Authority / Transport Infrastructure Ireland Archaeological Geophysical Database: https://repository.dri.ie/catalog/8w334n14r
You will be supplied with access to IT Sligo online e-learner software, such as Moodle.