Geophysical investigation of archeological sites

C. J. Leith, K. A. Schneider, C. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Rapid loss of archeological sites as a consequence of population expansion and industrial, urban, and rural development in the United States necessitates the expeditious assessment of the importance of particular sites within a region. Tailored to different scales of archeological phenomena, two alternative interpretation techniques for the use of resistivity surveying methods have proven effective for this purpose. Where features are large, tend to have linear boundaries, and/or contrast well with their matrices relative to the local level of noise, individual features can be investigated. Where features are small, round, have low contrast profiles, and are clustered in activity areas, these areas should be characterized by the statistical and spatial patterning of their collective resistivity values. Trend surface analysis of resistivity survey data works well when applied to house foundations, wells, and burials in historic sites in North Carolina. The Barnes Layer method of resistivity data interpretation and frequency analysis is effective in locating clusters of artifacts, earthen pits, midden deposits, hearths, and post molds as demonstrated at a prehistoric Indian village in Illinois.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of the International Association of Engineering Geology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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