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Subsurface Imaging in Archaeology- Geology 436
aka: Near Surface Geophysics, Archaeological Geophysics
Professor: Steve Sheriff
Syllabus, project reports, grading papers
Excel tips & exercises (free!)

Shallow Geophysics - selection of articles Archaeological Prospection (journal)
Near Surface Geophysics (journal)  

Spring Semester, 2013:

1/29/2013: Introduction to course, and a basic discussion on geophysical targets and methods (magnetic, gravity, electrical, radar; Intro ppt, movies (1, 2). The latter lead to three basic questions: 1) what are you looking for?, 2) what are the physical characteristics?, and 3) what are the material contrasts?, and a flow chart for the experimental process.

1/31: Introduction to gravity: Newton, spheres and trenches. Gravity over a buried sphere and horizontal cylinder. Designing an experiment: spreadsheet example; my notes

2/5: 2-sphere.xlsx (vary separation, depth), Gravcad demo, and CSM's Java applet for modeling the gravity anomaly over a tunnel. Measurements, standard deviation, and signal stacking with instrument sensitivity. Berkeley's gravity page (has great Java applets too); PBLOCK.EXE. Gravity corrections and the Bouguer anomaly.

Read: Panisova & Pasteka, 2009, The use of microgravity technique in archaeology: A case study from the St. Nicolas Church in Pukanec, Slovakia; Contr. Geophys & Geodesy, v39/3.

2/7: Discuss Panisova & Pasteka, 2009, answer questions, field methods, and operation of the Scintrex CG3 gravity meter.

2/12: Assignment: 1) problem with report due next week. Introduction to DC electrical resistivity (Loke's tutorial <-6 megs & 'mathy', analog model, example). The apparent resistivity of subsurface materials (1, 2) is measured with a number of common arrays used both for profiling and sounding; Coloma: (figure, paper). My notes.

2/14: Next: Observations to solutions: Examples: archaeological (1, 2), environmental (1, 2), Sandhill, (ppt, Coloma data). Then pseudosections, resistivity mapping, modeling and inverting with RES2DMOD and RES2DINV demonstrates:

    1. variations of resistivity in the subsurface cause different apparent resistivity values at the surface and the pseudosection depends on the array.
    2. arrays have variable sensitivity (Wenner, dipole-dipole).

2/19: Discuss problem due then review last time: modeling and inverting with RES2DMOD and RES2DINV, the RES2DMOD manual, and Coloma data & compare real data(Wenner, dipole-dipole), then designing an experiment - concrete slab (10^2 Ohm-m in fluvial materials @ 10^4 Ohm-m). Assignments:

    1. For next week (2/26 &2/28): find a recent professional paper using DC resistivity pertinent to your interests in archaeology or near-surface geosciences - be prepared to give us a short review of that paper next week (Your presentation outline: authors, problem, experiment, results, your thoughts - focus on the geophysics). We'll use these presentations as a basis for furthering understanding and answering questions and I'll watch for your understanding.

    2. Resistivity experimental design due in two weeks (3/5); 66253not11 using RES2DMOD and RES2DINV for modeling and inverting electrical resistivity profiles

2/21: Edit RES2DMOD files, info in the Res2dmod manual. Start magnetic exploration: example magnetic anomaly, as good as it gets; the Schonstedt fluxgate magnetometer and Earth's magnetic field (declination, inclination, magnetic elements), D, I in Missoula.

2/26: Presentations - oil spills, homocides, neolithic sites, bones, moraines & the mantle! Are there lots of applications for DC resistivity?

2/28: DC resistivity presentations continued: gasoline spills, permafrost, neanderthals, riverbnks and the acropolis.

3/5: DC resistivity presentations: who's left? Magnetic elements & magnetic minerals, flux around a dipole, profiles with latitude. How fire hearts get magnetized (Carrancho & Villalain, 2011).

3/7: Again: vectors then profiles with latitude & models. Models (3D example) and scale (MT_Geol) block model, buried dipole applet; good overview from Armin Schmidt (2007 paper; others), my notes. Examples & demo processing.ppt - magnetic anomalies last a long time.

3/12: Take home exam: Midterm data; due 3/19. Gridding (figure: 4 methods, data (MYAP, Philippines), contouring (directions). Then, a start on Geosoft Oasis Montaj software and the USGS extensions - decorrugation.

3/14: More on Geosoft Oasis Montaj software and the USGS extensions: data (Philippines).

3/19: Download data from last time using Magmap2000 from Geometrics. More on Geosoft Oasis Montaj software and the USGS extensions. Using upward continuation to isolate equivalent sources from different depths (my notes) & qualitative depth assessment; other descriptions of upward continuation (1, 2).

Assignment: In groups of 3-4, I want you to design an interesting, local, magnetic or electrical resistivity experiment, check out the equipment, then acquire, download, process, and interpret the data. Each individual is responsible for their own report on those data using the usual outline; limit it to 4 pages not including tables and figures - due 4/30. On & after 4/30, you'll present these reports in class (as a group) for our joint discussion and edification. I want to hear about your proposed project before you collect data.

3/21: Free gridding with MagPick from Geometrics! Using upward continuation (data: Traveller's rest, Philippines).

  • Turn in next Thursday: Use upward continuation of these data acquired over a visible stone ring to determine how deep you could bury the stone ring and still see the magnetic anomaly. Turn in a 1-2 page report (not including relevant figures) explaining what you did and the maximum spacing among observations that would still allow you to image the feature if it was 0.5 meters deep.

3/26: Exam return/review (.ppt). (Juerges et al. 2010 elect & mag paper on graves). Edge detection: horizontal gradient and analytic signal (aka total gradient), reduction to pole, and pseudogravity; compare 2VD, HGM, AS.

Assignment: find a professional paper using magnetics pertinent to your interests in archaeology or geology - be prepared to give us a short review of that paper; we'll start Thursday 4/11; Your presentation outline is: authors, problem, experiment, results - focus on the geophysics. We'll use these presentations as a basis for furthering understanding and answering questions.

3/28: Resistivity & magnetics review in the field: Instructions.

4/2 - 4/4: Spring Break

4/9: Space weather and forecast. My stone ring results; edge detection (disk example, faulted dome) using horizontal gradient and analytic signal (aka total gradient), reduction to pole, and pseudogravity with post maps of HGM in Surfer. A pit house question. Recent Yellowstone magnetics article.

4/11: Shallow magnetics paper presentations.

4/16: Shallow magnetics paper presentations, again. Somewhere I'll demo edge detection in Oasis on data from Traveller's Rest)

Assignment: Use these raw TMI data from near Yellowstone Lake, clean them up, separate sources, and make professional final images. Note in the data that the "reading" column is TMI and "Diurnal" has the diurnal variation removed. Write a convincing report (3 pages or less without figures) of your procedures, the final results, and a recommendation of where (& why) you would site excavations to test your interpretation. Include a figure of the diurnal variation. Present your processing steps in such a way that I could follow them and reproduce your results. Due 4/25.

4/18: Finish your magnetic presentations and magnetics with questions including simple depth estimates (except for the problem dues next week). Start on ground penetrating radar (GPR; L. Conyer's book -.pdf); where we're headed: (animate: 1, 2).

4/23: Geo example - aeromag. GPR (setup, 3D, time slice). RDP (RDP definition, values, water & velocity) wavelength, frequency, operational wavelengths, reflection coefficient, (my notes).

4/25: Presentations ready? Your assignment: my results. Reflection coefficient (xls), Multiples, metal 'ringing', and diffraction hyperbola. Sketch some 2-way travel time sections!

4/30: More presentations. GPR footprint, designing a GPR experiment. Read this report (Yellowstone grave).

5/2:  Youtube GPR!. Acquire GPR data and operating the equipment; GroundVision.

5/7: Backup - downloaded & measured frequencies: 50mhz, 100mhz, 500mhz, (graves); processing GPR data with Reflex software; simple steps for using Reflex to process GPR data; Reflex_processing.ppt. (my notes)

Read this report for Thursday: Yellowstone grave.

FYI - Yellowstone magnetics paper from MacDonald and Hale, 2013, Yellowstone Archaeology - Southern Yellowstone. University of Montana Department of Anthropology Contributions to Archaeology, Volume 13 (2).

5/9: Presentations, Butte DC on ftp, web piracy: GPR profiles, summary, etc.


Monday May 13; 1:10-3:10 Final Exam - My Answers_median=77%





The 2012 course
The 2011 course

The 2010 course
The 2009 course
The 2008 course
The 2007 course

Relevant Links:

Relevant terms - supply and learn the definitions Intro & Perspective NOAA Geomagnetism Radar and Archaeology  
Archaeo-magnetics, Smekalova et al., (16 mb!) Gem Systems - Magnetic Maps My handouts and Tips
Archaeological Prospection (journal) GPR Basics EPA

Relevant Journals:

Archaeological Prospection - informs archaeologists, environmental scientists, site developers, local authorities and regional environmental agencies about the wide range of scientific techniques available for the study of the near-surface environment.

Journal of Archaeological Science - is aimed at archaeologists and scientists with particular interests in advances in the application of scientific techniques and methodologies to all areas of archaeology.

Near Surface Geophysics - an international journal for the publication of research and development in geophysics applied to the near surface. It puts emphasis on geological, hydrogeological, geotechnical, environmental, engineering, mining, archaeological and other applications of geophysics as well as on physical soil and rock properties.

Geoarchaeology - an interdisciplinary journal which presents the results of original research at the methodological and theoretical interface between archaeology and the geosciences.

SAGEEP - The Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS) convenes the annual Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP). Proceedings (and the journal) sometimes have archaeolgical papers.

Quick comments on some texts:

Handbook Of Geophysics In Archaeology, A.J. Witten, Equinox Handbooks in Anthropological Archaeology, 2006, 343 p. This is a good, informative and readable introductory text. The organization is excellent as is the breadth of topics and case studies. It should serve well as a textbook. On the downside there are a few errors in the text, among the most glaring is the consistent use of remnant instead of remanent in the magnetics section; likely an editor's mistake rather than the late author's.

Remote Sensing in Archaeology: An Explicitly North American Perspective, J. K. Johnson ed., Univ. Alabama Press, 2006, 319 p.  This is a set of papers resulting from a meeting. All the major methods are presented and reviewed, often in the context of "cultural resource management". The are lots of good case studies but there is insufficient physical background to make this an informative reference book. Never the less, it is a worthwhile read.

Field Geophysics, John Milsom, Wiley, 2003, 3rd edition, 232 p. This book provides the basics of a large spectrum of techniques. It is not specifically archaeological in approach, but it serves as a useful, handy reference and source of facts.

GPR for Archaeology, L. Conyers, Alta Mira Press, 2004, 203 p., This is an excellent book on a specific technique for archaeology. It is well written and all the necessary background is provided in an easily digestible fashion - recommended.

Magnetometry for Archaeologists, 2008, Aspinall, A., Gaffney, C., and Schmidt, A., Alta Mira Press, 208 p. This book gives a very sound background to understanding of magnetics and why there are magnetic anomalies over many archaeological targets. The applications, data processing and visualization are directed mostly at results and conditions in Britain.




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