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Palaeogeographic reconstruction in the transition zone: the role of geophysical forward modelling in ground investigation surveys

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Geophysical survey techniques are commonly used as part of studies to reconstruct past geographies in archaeological and palaeoenvironmental landscape investigations onshore and offshore. However, their use across the intertidal zone for constructing contiguous models is far more challenging. In order to enhance the interpretation of the recovered data forward modelling is used here to demonstrate the effective use of a staged approach to site investigation. Examples of data from electrical and electromagnetic techniques have been modelled and tested with ground truth measurements including trial pits, coring and cone penetrometer testing. This combination of forward modelling and testing has proved to be particularly effective at mapping key geological situations of archaeological interest. The approach is demonstrated by reference to varying sub-surface sediment types exemplified by two field examples from the UK coast where typical palaeolandscape features, namely incised channels and deeply buried topographies are encountered. These palaeogeographic features were chosen as they have high potential for association with the evidence of past human activity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-323
JournalArchaeological Prospection
Issue number4
Early online date31 Aug 2016
StatePublished - Dec 2016

    Research areas

  • Geophysics, Boreholes, Palaeogeography, Buried channels, Peats, Modelling

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