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Ground-penetrating Radar for Geoarchaeology

Ground-penetrating Radar for Geoarchaeology

Lawrence B. Conyers

ISBN: 978-1-118-95001-2

May 2016, Wiley-Blackwell

160 pages



There has long been a strong collaboration between geologists and archaeologists, and the sub-field of geoarchaeology is well developed as a discipline in its own right.  This book now bridges the gap between those fields and the geophysical technique of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), which allows for three-dimensional analysis of the ground to visualize both geological and archaeological materials.  This method has the ability to produce images of the ground that display complex packages of materials, and allows researchers to integrate sedimentary units, soils and associated archaeological features in ways not possible using standard excavation techniques.   The ability of GPR to visualize all these buried units  can help archaeologists place ancient people within the landscapes and environments of their time, and understand their burial and preservation phenomena in three-dimensions.

Readership: Advanced students in archaeology and geoarchaeology, as well as practicing archaeologists with an interest in GPS techniques.

About the Author vii

Acknowledgments viii

1 Introduction to Ground]penetrating Radar in Geoarchaeology Studies 1

Introduction 1

Scales and Applications of Geoarchaeological Studies with GPR 3

Basics of the GPR Method 4

Integrating GPR with the Geological and Archaeological Record 6

References 10

2 Basic Method and Theory of Ground]penetrating Radar 12

Introduction 12

Production of Reflections, Depth of Penetration, and Resolution 14

Data Collection and Recording 15

Production and Processing of Reflection Profiles 16

More Advanced Data Processing Steps 18

Interpretation of GPR Reflections in Profiles 19

Resolution of Stratigraphic Units 22

Weather and Moisture Differences as They Affect Resolution 27

References 32

3 Integration of Geology, Archaeology, and Ground]penetrating Radar 34

Introduction 34

Examples of Correlating Radar Reflections to Define Stratigraphic Interfaces 35

References 44

4 Fluvial, Alluvial Fan, and Floodplain Environments 46

Introduction 46

Fluvial Systems 47

Fluvial Terraces 51

Alluvial Fans 56

References 60

5 Soils Horizons, Peat Bogs, and Swamps 62

Introduction 62

Soil Horizons 63

Swamps and Peat Bogs 69

References 71

6 Beaches, Sand Dunes, and other Coastal Environments 73

Introduction 73

Beaches 74

Erosion Features along Coasts 77

Lagoon and Tidal Flats 79

Aeolian Dunes 81

References 90

7 Lakes and Deltas 92

Introduction 92

Lakes 93

Deltas 94

References 97

8 Caves and Rock Shelters 99

Introduction 99

Rock Shelters 100

Mapping Adjacent to Rock Shelters 104

Caves 106

References 111

9 Anthropogenic Features and Urban Environments 113

Introduction 113

Middens 114

Anthropogenic Deposits 118

Urban Settings 122

References 130

10 Conclusions 132

Collection of Data for this Book and the Future of GPR in Geoarchaeology 132

Environments Where GPR is Most Applicable in Geoarchaeology 134

The Future of GPR in Geoarchaeology 136

References 136

Glossary of Common GPR Terms 138

Index 143