Marine and Limnic Archaeological Prospection with Geoelectrics and Ground-Penetrating Radar

In recent years, near-surface geophysical prospection of archaeological issues such as harbours in the littoral zone has gained increasing interest. So far, the two methods geoelectrics and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) have hardly been used for archaeological prospection in littoral zones. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge on the physical parameters of the materials to be prospected, including water-saturated, possibly weathered wood.

In my thesis, I systematically investigate possible areas of application of the methods geoelectrics and GPR in the littoral zone. I investigate the methods’ limitations and conditions under which they can be used individually or as a complementary method to seismics. The targeted prospection of the material wood with the methods is treated in detail.

First, application possibilities of geoelectrics were investigated. The method is suitable to resolve archaeological stone settings and groundwater upwelling areas. For survey measurements and geological issues, towed, floating electrode arrays are well suited. Submerged electrodes should be used for archaeological prospection.

Next, the characteristics of GPR in water under field conditions were analysed. The methods’ penetration depth is almost independent of the antenna frequency and the presence of organic material in the water. An antenna array would have to be used for areal archaeological prospection with centimetre accuracy.

The topic of the third part is “wood”. In order to evaluate possibilities of prospecting archaeological wooden objects such as shipwrecks with GPR and geoelectrics, the physical parameters of wood were determined experimentally and material contrasts were calculated. Both methods are suitable for the prospecting of wood in freshwater.

The accurate evaluation of the methods in water environments allows them to be used in the future for well-defined research issues.


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