Geophysical Imaging of Archaeological Sites

Torano and Arezzo, Italy

Undergraduate students from the University of Rochester and elsewhere investigate pre-Roman and Roman occupations in the Torano area of central Italy (see University of Rochester San Martino Field School site). Geophysical surveying helps establish continuity of structures, and guides future excavations.

The Arezzo site was established to survey for evidence of a Roman aqueduct. Here are a few samples of our work using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and magnetic gradiometry. Figure shows possible columns of Roman baths beneath the Prato in Arezzo. Red dots on left are apices of diffraction curves detected in 2D radar profiles.

Colantoni, E., G. Colantoni, C. Ebinger, D. Keir, Indagini geofisiche e archeologiche nel Parco di Villa Severi ad Arezzo (2012-2013), Atti e Memorie della Accademia Petrarca di Lettere, Arti, e Scienze, Nuova Serie LXXVIII, Anno 2016,  243-256, 2017.

Thibodaux, Louisiana

As part of a project with Thibodaux residents, author John DeSantis, University of LA at Lafayette and Tulane, Dr Ryan Gallacher and I surveyed a 40 x 25 m area believed to be the burial site for the 1887 Thibodaux Massacre.  Davette Gadison (Tulane) and Mark Rhees (ULL) have completed a report of findings for sponsors. 

Huaca de la Luna, Péru

An exchange program between Rochester and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP )and a Fulbright award enabled some reconnaissance surveys of the exquisitely preserved Moche site: Huaca de la Luna, in Trujillo, northern Peru. The aim was to evaluate hypotheses regarding engineering of the massive adobe huacas, built by the Moche more than 1500 years ago. We have partially mapped the contact between sands and bedrock using magnetic gradiometry and GPR (many thanks to Cornell), and illuminated some cavities that could be burial chambers. Some of the results were presented at AGU 2014 by Guillermo Zavala. Cat Lambert was critical to the success of the GPR work.

Zavala, G. J., S. Lopez, C. J. Ebinger, M. A. Pando, C. Lambert, R. Morales, S. Uceda, R. Perucchio, B. Castaneda, and R. Aguilar. “Preliminary Geophysical Survey for Assessing the Geotechnical Conditions and Geohazards at Huaca de La Luna, Peru.” In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, vol. 1, p. 3843. 2014.

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