An Introduction to Geophysical and Geochemical Methods in Digital Geoarchaeology

Apostolos Sarris, Tuna Kalayci, Ian Moffat, Meropi Manataki

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    27 Downloads (Pure)


    Archaeological geophysics is a range of techniques for the minimally invasive, remote investigation of the physical parameters of the near-surface environment. This suite of methods is complementary to archaeological survey or excavation as it can provide information about the stratigraphy of the survey area, locate anthropogenic traces of the past, document their spatial dimensions and—under ideal conditions—explore the physical properties of subsurface materials. Both material culture items such as a building foundations and indirect indications of anthropogenic activity such as subsurface disturbance or evidence of burning are excellent direct targets for geophysical investigations since they can be differentiated on the basis of their material properties from the wider soil context. In addition to directly locating archaeological material, geophysical techniques can make an important contribution to geoarchaeological investigations by elucidating the site stratigraphy and mapping its lateral geometry. In some cases, such as when locating prehistoric material buried offshore or within open Palaeolithic sites, the reconstruction of past landscapes may make a more important contribution to archaeological investigations than the direct geophysical detection of archaeological materials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDigital Geoarchaeology
    Subtitle of host publicationNew Techniques for Interdisciplinary Human-Environmental Research
    EditorsChristoph Siart, Markus Forbriger, Olaf Bubenzer
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319253169
    ISBN (Print)9783319253145
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Bibliographical note

    This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

    The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.


    • archaeological geophysics
    • Landscape archaeology
    • soil stratigraphy


    Dive into the research topics of 'An Introduction to Geophysical and Geochemical Methods in Digital Geoarchaeology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this