Jezreel Valley Regional Project Archaeology and History of a Regional Landscape

Ground Penetrating Radar Survey Project

Jessie A. Pincus, PhD

GPR Data Supervisor of the JVRP

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a geophysical method/technology that has been being used within the field of archaeology for almost 30 years. Only in the last 10 years has its application within archaeology in the Southern Levant begun to increase and improve in quality and ease. It is part of a suite of geophysical technologies including Electromagnetic Conductivity, Magnetometry, and Resistivity. In all cases, subtle changes in the soils and sub-surface features are detected and can be mapped in certain circumstances much like an excavation map is created at varying depths. Geophysical methods used for archaeology are non-invasive and thus do not harm the surface of the ground or the potential archaeological remains below. Generally where one technology does not succeed, another will, and thus when using geophysical methods at archaeological sites we aim to use a suite of techniques when possible.

GPR data can be acquired in high, medium, and low resolutions depending on the antenna used and the survey methodology. Resultant data is post-processed and analyzed to create 2D and 3D data models.

In regional projects GPR is particularly useful as we design a survey strategy that can produce a good understanding of the region as a whole. Coarse surveys can show us where to direct higher resolution surveys followed up by archaeological excavation and ground-truthing, knowing there is a location of high anomalous difference in the sub-surface, often even up to 8 meters depth. As one of the long-term goals of the JRVP is to find and investigate all sites of the valley not pertaining to time period, GPR will be an efficient element to our survey plan.

 

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