Identification of shapes and uses of past landscapes through EMI survey

François-Xavier Simon, Ian Moffat

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


Over the last ten years, the use of Electro-Magnetic Induction (EMI) instruments for archaeological purposes has increased considerably. This development has come both from the availability of new instruments with multi-coils spacing allowing a multi-depth analysis and because of the wide availability of high quality GPS positing which can be easily integrated with EMI. These new possibilities promote the use of EMI instruments for the study of archaeological landscapes and sites. Indeed, the capability to simultaneously map both the electrical conductivity and the magnetic susceptibility presents a great advantage for archaeological purposes compared to other geophysical instruments. The combination of these two measurements means that it is possible to geomorphologicaly characterize past landscapes while simultaneously mapping anthropogenic activities. To maximize the potential of EMI measurements, this technique requires specialized processing and calibration to limit confusing and unclear results. In order to obtain quantitative conductivity and magnetic susceptibility data, it is necessary to correct instrumental drift and calibrate for local soil conditions. In this paper we introduce the theoretical basis of the EMI technique, discuss common instruments and explain the calibration procedure before presenting three case studies that illustrate applications of EMI to archaeological sites on a range of scales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBest Practices of GeoInformatic Technologies for the Mapping of Archaeolandscapes
EditorsApostolos Sarris
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781784911638
ISBN (Print)9781784911621
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • EMI
  • Multi-coil
  • Multi-frequency
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Landscape archaeology


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