A tumulus is a construction erected to cover a tomb. Some tumuli are impressively massive and may conceal architectural masterpieces. Seismic refraction is employed to locate the tomb and to allow selective excavation without destroying the tumulus. The detectors are spread along a circular profile on the periphery of the tumulus, and acoustic waves are generated on its top. Time delays observed in the arrivals of the headwaves reveal the position of the monument. The delays are not caused by the monument itself, but are an effect caused by the presence of a ramp that was dug in the undisturbed soil to help in the construction of the tomb.Three case histories in Northern Greece establish the efficiency of the technique. In the first example, an experiment was conducted at a previously excavated tumulus, and time delays attributed to the revealed ramp are observed. The second case study led to the discovery of an impressive monument; 3-D modeling by finite difference verifies the interpretation. A third study is also reported; where, for the most promising portion of the data, 3-D modeling has been performed.

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