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The role of integrated geophysical survey 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 in the assessment of archaeological landscapes: the case of Portus Archaeological Prospection, 16, (3), pp. 154-166. (doi:10.1002/arp.358).

Record type: Article


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 techniques in 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.

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Published date: 23 July 2009
Additional Information: Special Issue: Integrated remote sensing techniques for archaeological prospection. Issue edited by Marcello Ciminale, Rosa Lasaponara, Salvatore Piro
Keywords: geophysical survey, landscape, roman ports, integrated methods
Organisations: Archaeology


Local EPrints ID: 69030
ISSN: 1075-2196
PURE UUID: 79eba769-3ab5-4d87-8452-afd60db73755
ORCID for Graeme Earl: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 19 Oct 2009
Last modified: 03 Oct 2017 16:41

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Author: Simon Keay
Author: Graeme Earl ORCID iD
Author: Sophie Hay
Author: Stephen Kay
Author: Jessica Ogden
Author: Kristian Strutt

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