A geophysical analysis of Aboriginal earth mounds in the Murray River Valley, South Australia

Dave Ross, Kleanthis Simyrdanis, Michael John Morrison, Amy Louise Roberts, Ian Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Earth mounds are common archaeological features in some regions of Australia, particularly within the Murray‐Darling Basin. These features are generally considered to have formed via the repeated use of earth oven cookery methods employed by Aboriginal people during the mid‐ to late‐Holocene. This study assesses the relative effectiveness of key geophysical methods including magnetometry, ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) in mapping, and determining the stratigraphy of earth mound sites. Three earth mounds adjacent to Hunchee Creek, on Calperum Station in South Australia's Riverland region, were chosen to conduct a comparative trial of these methods. This research demonstrated that geophysics can be used to both locate mounds and provide information as to deposit thickness and size. Individual ovens within mounds can also be located. This suggests a greater potential role for geophysics in understanding the Holocene archaeological record in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
Journal Archaeological Prospection
Issue number4
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Australia
  • earth mounds
  • ERT
  • GPR
  • Holocene
  • magnetics


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