Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Contribution of Geophysical Investigations in the Paleontological Research for the recovery of Deinotherium giganteum from Siteia, Crete.

Fossil parts of the Deinotherium giganteum were located for the first time in Crete, during the excavations which were conducted by the Natural History Museum of Crete in 2002. A geophysical survey program (August 2004 and May 2005) was conducted by the Laboratory of Geophysical-Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment in the area where the first fossils have been located by the Natural History Museum of Crete. The goal of the geophysical survey was to detect possible locations where the larger bones of the Deinotherium would be buried under. This geophysical investigation had an additional motivation, as it was the first time in Greece that geophysical techniques were employed in order to locate buried fossil parts of prehistoric animals. An area of 44m2 was surveyed during the first phase of the geophysical investigations employing the ground penetrating radar and the electrical resistivity mapping techniques. Additionally a 13.5x6.5m2 rectangular grid, which included the area investigated during the first geophysical phase, was surveyed using the electrical resistivity tomography technique. The geophysical investigations in the locality of Gela, Aghia Fotia identified a number of geophysical anomalies that are possibly related with parts of Deinotherium giganteum. The 2004 excavation program confirmed some of them, indicating the complementary role the geophysical methods can have in the paleontological research.

  • Apostolos Sarris
  • Nikos Papadopoulos