Needles in the haystack - Geophysical methods in challenging conditions

Christer Tonning, Lars Gustavsen, Arne Anderson Stamnes, Erich Nau, Monica Kristiansen


The development of geophysical techniques for archaeological purposes has largely taken place in areas where archaeological features tend to be pronounced, well-defined and, arguably, easily detected by geophysical instruments. Often, however, we are faced with archaeological features which do not readily lend themselves to detection by these methods. This is sometimes compounded by local geomorphological and pedological conditions, which may obscure or mask the archaeological features. This calls for different approaches to how geophysical methods are applied, and it requires comprehensive field observation regimes to verify and understand the geophysical properties of the archaeology.

In this session we wish to focus on projects where adverse geological, geomorphological, pedological and archaeological conditions have been encountered. We want to explore how these conditions have affected the geophysical survey results and their archaeological interpretability, to see how these phenomena have been observed through archaeological feedback, and how the results have influenced subsequent field procedures.