The role of integrated geophysical survey methods in the assessment of archaeological landscapes: the case of Portus

Keay, Simon, Earl, Graeme, Hay, Sophie, Kay, Stephen, Ogden, Jessica and Strutt, Kristian (2009) The role of integrated geophysical survey methods in the assessment of archaeological landscapes: the case of Portus. Archaeological Prospection, 16, (3), 154-166. (doi:10.1002/arp.358).


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The regular application of geophysical, geochemical and topographical survey techniques to evaluate
archaeological sites is well established as a method for locating, defining and mapping buried archaeological
materials. However, it is not always feasible to apply a range of different methods over a
particular site or landscape due to constraints in time or funding.This paper addresses the integrated
application of a variety of survey techniques over different sites and landscapes in Italy and elsewhere,
focusing on the recent results from the ongoing survey and excavations at Portus, the port of Imperial
Rome. An integration of methods, including magnetometry, resistance survey, ground-penetrating
radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) has been used at the site to fulfil a number
of different research objectives. Results of the magnetometer survey have successfully recorded
the nature and extent of archaeological material over an area of 220 ha, allowing a plan of the port
and related structures to be produced and variations in archaeological potential across the entire landscape
to be assessed.The integration of several techniquesin one area of the site between the Porto
di Claudio and the Porto di Traiano has mapped the structural remains of this area of the port prior
to and during investigation of the zone through excavation. Current work on the geophysical survey
data, using different software programs for the processing of survey data and merging different datasets using geographical information system packages,
has allowed the results of the work to be visualized
and presented to archaeologists in a comprehensive and unambiguous fashion, facilitating the
future management and preservation of the site. In addition ongoing research is using different statistical and visual methods of integration to refine the archaeological interpretation of the study area

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/arp.358
Additional Information: Special Issue: Integrated remote sensing techniques for archaeological prospection. Issue edited by Marcello Ciminale, Rosa Lasaponara, Salvatore Piro
ISSNs: 1075-2196 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: geophysical survey, landscape, roman ports, integrated methods
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Archaeology
ePrint ID: 69030
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:54
The Portus Project
Funded by: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/E509517/1)
Led by: Simon James Keay
1 March 2007 to 1 April 2011

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