Locating graves with geophysics

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

9 Citations (Scopus)


The detection and mapping of unmarked graves is a significant focus of many archaeological and forensic investigations however traditional methods such as probing, forensic botany, cadaver dogs or dowsing are often ineffective, slow to cover large areas or excessively invasive. Geophysics offers an appealing alternative suitable for the rapid non-invasive investigation of large areas. Unfortunately graves are a challenging target with no diagnostic geophysical response and so the use of a rigorous application-specific methodology is essential for a successful outcome. The most important inclusions in a successful survey methodology include ultrahigh density data, the use of multiple geophysical techniques to validate results based on several physical properties, excellent quality positioning and intensive site recording. Regardless of the methodology applied, geophysics should not be considered a panacea for locating all graves on all sites but should be used as an integral part of a comprehensive survey strategy.

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


  • Burial
  • Clandestine
  • Forensic
  • Geophysics
  • Graves


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