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1. Geophysical Exploration for Archaeology: An Introduction
to Geophysical Exploration.
Bevan, Bruce W.
This volume is written for all archaeologists who would like to learn how to do geophysical surveys. While this volume is more detailed than volume A, I have kept the technical complexity to a minimum. Even if you are not interested in doing your own geophysical surveys, you may wish to look quickly at this volume in order to learn more about the practices of geophysical exploration. This might help you to specify how a geophysical survey should be done by someone else.
There are many advantages if you do your own geophysical survey. You will be able to do it just as you wish and when you wish. Since you will probably be excavating the site after your survey, you will easily be able to compare the excavation finds to your geophysical results. You may even wish to start an additional survey after your excavations have begun in order to understand the character of a feature which extends outside your excavation.
You may also do geophysical surveys in the bottom or along the sides of your excavations. These may reveal invisible features just behind the excavated surface. A geophysical survey on a vertical excavation surface can provide an objective map of the character of the soil through a shallow depth into the unexcavated soil. Any of the different types of survey can be done within excavations; the major difference is that the measurements are made very close together.
I believe that any archaeologist could do good geophysical surveys; the mental and physical requirements of archaeology and geophysics are very similar. There are some differences too. While geophysics is easier on the knees, it also requires precision while doing repetitive work. You definitely do not need to have a technical background to do geophysical surveys, but you will save time if you can make simple electrical repairs; cables and connectors frequently break. Geophysical surveys can be done (and often are done) in weather which would halt most excavations. If you do not mind doing a walking reconnaissance as a search for archaeological sites, you do not mind collecting spider webs on your ears as you pass between the trees; geophysics is the same. If you wish to do good work, you will have to do at least one or two geophysical surveys a year; if you do fewer, you will forget the procedures.
In this volume, I will be emphasizing topics which have not been described very completely in other publications. I will not duplicate the clear introductions which others have given to resistivity and magnetic surveys. However, I will describe how to do resistivity soundings, and I will also describe simple procedures for magnetic mapping and interpretation. My discussions of conductivity and radar surveys will be more complete than usual, because rather little has been written about practical procedures for these surveys before.