Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Urban archaeological investigations using surface 3D Ground Penetrating Radar and Electrical Resistivity Tomography methods

Ongoing and extensive urbanisation, which is frequently accompanied with careless construction works, may threaten important archaeological structures that are still buried in the urban areas. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) methods are most promising alternatives for resolving buried archaeological structures in urban territories. In this work, three case studies are presented, each of which involves an integrated geophysical survey employing the surface three-dimensional (3D) ERT and GPR techniques, in order to archaeologically characterise the investigated areas. The test field sites are located at the historical centres of two of the most populated cities of the island of Crete, in Greece. The ERT and GPR data were collected along a dense network of parallel profiles. The subsurface resistivity structure was reconstructed by processing the apparent resistivity data with a 3D inversion algorithm. The GPR sections were processed with a systematic way, applying specific filters to the data in order to enhance their information content. Finally, horizontal depth slices representing the 3D variation of the physical properties were created. The GPR and ERT images significantly contributed in reconstructing the complex subsurface properties in these urban areas. Strong GPR reflections and highresistivity anomalies were correlated with possible archaeological structures. Subsequent excavations in specific places at both sites verified the geophysical results. The specific case studies demonstrated the applicability of ERT and GPR techniques during the design and construction stages of urban infrastructure works, indicating areas of archaeological significance and guiding archaeological excavations before construction work.

  • Apostolos Sarris
  • Nikos Papadopoulos