Archaeological geophysics is a way to explore the potential archaeology of an area with instruments that create maps of properties of the subsoil, including archaeological remains. Through the recent purchase of a Bartington Grad 601-2 gradiometer, ISAS will be able to measure subsurface magnetic gradients flowing from the earth that may reflect buried archaeological deposits. In addition, the acquisition of a Geonics EM38-MK2 means that ISAS can now collect soil conductivity data and determine that same soil’s magnetic susceptibility.
Geophysical surveys can delineate, describe, and image cultural remains in a less costly and non-destructive way which dramatically enhances the real area covered by a single project and allows exploration of larger areas and an understanding of sites in a wider context. Archaeological geophysics can also help archaeologists select excavation locations with previous geophysical information by optimizing resources and increasing the effectiveness of excavations. This emerging geophysical capacity will allow ISAS to pursue non-invasive archaeological surveys that can be used to help stakeholders—including IDOT and its partners—plan future projects and/or minimize impacts to current ones.
Dr. Robert McCullough