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Book Chapter

Enhancing usability of near-surface geophysical data in archaeological surveys via Google Earth

By
Caitlyn M. Williams
Caitlyn M. Williams
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1410, USA
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Gregory S. Baker
Gregory S. Baker
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1410, USA
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Bradley A. Ault
Bradley A. Ault
Department of Classics, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, 14260, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2012

Conventional archaeological excavation methods are, by design, extremely invasive and result in culturally sensitive areas being irrevocably altered. For this reason, near-surface geophysical techniques have been incorporated into archaeological investigations to aid in locating buried features and developing specific excavation plans with minimal damage to the sites. The objective of our research was to conduct a geophysical surveying campaign at a test site in Knoxville, Tennessee, to develop a workflow for an improved data management methodology that would be applied to data acquired at an active archaeological site in Cyprus.

A multi-tool geophysical survey was completed as a first case study at a control site with known subsurface features on the University of Tennessee Agricultural Campus using both ground penetrating radar and magnetic gradiometry. Using real-time differential corrected GPS data, we systematically imported the images into Google Earth as accurately georeferenced overlays on existing topographic maps and air photos. We added placemarks where we interpreted subsurface anomalies based on the data, exported waypoints for the features into spreadsheet software, and correlated the results to the known locations. We next tested this methodology with data from an active archaeological site in southern Cyprus. Data were displayed in Google Earth and accurate GPS coordinates for features were exported into a spreadsheet file. We were able to share a tested, easily accessible final product that was immediately useful and accessible to the archaeologists on the team and the broader archaeological community.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Memorial Hall, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807, USA
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John E. Bailey
John E. Bailey
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
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Declan G. De Paor
Declan G. De Paor
Department of Physics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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Tina Ornduff
Tina Ornduff
Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, California 94043, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
492
ISBN print:
9780813724928
Publication date:
October 01, 2012

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