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.
|Title of host publication||Digital Geoarchaeology|
|Subtitle of host publication||New Techniques for Interdisciplinary Human-Environmental Research|
|Editors||Christoph Siart, Markus Forbriger, Olaf Bubenzer|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
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- archaeological geophysics
- Landscape archaeology
- soil stratigraphy