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Archaeological Geophysics – a quick look Magnetics, Radar, and Resistivity www.umt.edu/geosciences Steve Sheriff Professor of Geophysics University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Archaeological Geophysics – a quick look Magnetics, Radar, and Resistivity www.umt.edu/geosciences Steve Sheriff Professor of Geophysics University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Archaeological Geophysics – a quick look Magnetics, Radar, and Resistivity Steve Sheriff Professor of Geophysics University of Montana – Missoula

2 Bar magnetic and iron filingsEarth’s magnetic field

3 Total Field Magnetics Magnetics exploits changes in subsurface magnetic properties: measure subtle changes in Earth’s magnetic field at the surface map those changes Interpret the results The best all round tool for archaeological investigation Use for large area Use other tools on smaller areas outlined by magnetic anomalies

4 Ground Penetrating Radar – echoes off reflectors

5 Ground Penetrating Radar GPR relies on radar waves reflecting off subsurface layers and objects Transmit & receive radar waves (200 MHz MHZ) Make profiles and maps of the reflectors

6 Electrical Resistivity measures the ability of the subsurface to transmit electricity we put electrodes in the ground, connect them to a power source, and measure the result

7 Sand Hill Cemetery served the mining towns of Coloma and Garnet

8 Electrical Resistivity Sand Hill Cemetery between the mining towns of Coloma and Garnet Syscal Kid 24 DC resistivity switch Electrodes & cabling

9 Congress would be proud: we found graves under tombstones!

10 Electrical resistivity over a suspected burial site near Coloma, MT

11 Cinnabar, the historic entrance to Yellowstone National Park S.D. Sheriff, D.MacDonald, D.Dick, 2010, Decorrugation, Edge Detection, and Modeling of Total Field Magnetic Observations from a Historic Town Site, Yellowstone National Park, USA. Archaeological Prospection, V. 17, p

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13 Magnetics yields maps and subsurface models enhance and look for non- natural features

14 Inverting for the subsurface shape yields ‘best estimates’ for the distribution of magnetization causing the observations

15 Total Field Magnetic, Radar, and Archaeological Studies on the Shores of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, USA

16 Magnetic surveying results in maps and subsurface models Radar yields 3D volumes with both profiles and time- slice maps

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18 TU 1 yielded a fire hearth dating to 1720±40 B.P. (Beta ), as well as abundant evidence of obsidian stone tool manufacture TUs 2, 3, and 4 yielded only boulders. We excavated these, despite each individual anomaly having the character of a boulder with remanent magnetization, because their concentration and alignment was promising. In a nearby area with similar analysis one such buried boulder turned out to be a long-term bench for flaking and other cultural activities. At about 0.8 meters below ground surface, TU 5 contained a fire hearth dating to 2920±40 B.P. (Beta ). TU 6 contained a rock concentration (likely a hearth) dated at 3,100±40 B.P. (Beta ).

19 Total Field Magnetics Radially distributed features around the center anomaly from an obsidian boulder at one meter The boulder was a long term seat for flaking The magnetic signature of the boulder has been attenuated to highlight the surrounding features

20 Radial magnetic highs around an obsidian boulder one meter below the surface (center anomaly) are almost certainly cultural features – the boulder was a long term seat for flaking

21 Northeastern Washington

22 Magnetics Before: After: rectilinear footprints are most likely cultural features

23 Where are the boundaries of this cemetery?

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25 What was the layout of this 1800’s mining town? Serendipity – 4” cast iron pipe!

26 Missoula

27 IDAHO - GPR Here’s one I’m excited about: ~ 75 cm deep ~6-8 m diameters The old road is shallower and not apparent on the surface

28 WWII Hospital Trenches in the Philippines

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31 S.D. Sheriff, D.MacDonald, D.Dick, 2010, Decorrugation, Edge Detection, and Modeling of Total Field Magnetic Observations from a Historic Town Site, Yellowstone National Park, USA. Archaeological Prospection, V. 17, p Decorrugation, Edge Detection, and Modeling Archaeological Prospection S.D. Sheriff, D.MacDonald, 2010, Total Field Magnetic, Radar, and Archaeological Studies on the Shores of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, USA. International Society of Archaeological Prospection (ISAP), v. 23, April 2010, p.3-5.Total Field Magnetic, Radar, and Archaeological StudiesISAP S.D. Sheriff, 2010, Matched Filter Separation of Magnetic Anomalies Caused by Scattered Surface Debris at Archaeological Sites. Near Surface Geophysics, v. 8, #2, p Matched Filter SeparationNear Surface Geophysics S.D. Sheriff and P.T. Doughty, 2009, Magnetic and Radar Investigations of Site 45CH703, Tumwater Canyon, Washington. Report (not refereed) prepared for Archaeological and historical Services, Eastern Washington University, 46 p. S.D. Sheriff and G. Carlson, 2009, Total Field Magnetometry and Ground Penetrating Radar Investigations at Kelly Forks Work Center, Clearwater National Forest, Idaho. Report (not refereed) prepared for USFS Clearwater National Forest, 32 p. S.D. Sheriff, 2009, Archaeological Scale Magnetic and Radar Investigations at Northwestern Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone national Park, USA. Report (not refereed) presented to Yellowstone National Park Center for Resources, Yellowstone National Park, USA, 41 p. S.D. Sheriff, 2009, Archaeological Scale magnetic, Electrical, and Radar Investigations at Boundary, Washington, LPOE, USA. Report (not refereed) prepared for Historical Research Associates, Inc., Missoula, MT, USA, 46 p. Schmidt, R., Crossland, N., Ballas, M., McKeown, and Sheriff, S., 2008, Remote Sensing of Pineview Park Missoula Montana. Student Project Report (not refereed) completed for Missoula Parks & Recreation Department, Missoula, Montana.


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