Geophysics at Tintagel Castle: Non-invasive work ahead of the excavations

I am cheating on Day of Archaeology at little, as I am going to talk about work we at TigerGeo did in May, but that is being used to inform the very-much-happening-on-July-29th excavations at Tintagel Castle. We’ve been really excited to see the excavations progress over the last few weeks and can’t wait to get our hands on the reports and plans to go back to our own data with.


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Just getting the gear onto site was a challenge!

While there has been a lot of media attention about the excavations (see Sue’s excellent piece for the insider perspective), the geophysical surveys happened without much fanfare in May, in order to give us time to process the data and report it back to the dig team at CAU. We thought it might be interesting to have an insight into the work we did on site and the iterative process of interpreting, getting feedback and revisiting the data that we are engaged in. Most of the time, we don’t get such a great chance to see the excavations that follow our surveys so this is fantastic for us as we will be able to update our thinking and interpretations in detail.

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Magnetic Susceptibility readings being taken on the lower reaches of the southern terrace

So what did we get up to? The excavation team didn’t want to make such a drastic intervention on the site blind. They had target areas, based on what was already known or assumed about the site and asked us to look at them in more detail to allow them to better target their excavations. They were particularly interested in finding buildings from the post-roman period that had lain undisturbed by recent archaeologists, so they could look at them with fresh eyes and modern scientific methods. Any excavation is inherently destructive, and on sites as unique as Tintagel, it is important to minimise the impact of destructive research, so to help them do this we came up with a package of four complimentary methods:

  • Ground Penetrating Radar, which should be able to detect buried walls and surfaces
  • Earth Resistance Survey, which should detect the same things as the GPR, but using different properties of the material, giving us a ‘double chance’ to find them
  • Magnetic Susceptibility, a method that looks at how magnetisable a material is, telling us things about the presence of certain forms of iron. This can help distiguish between different activities taking place on site: we’d expect higher MS in areas of industry or settlement thanks to burning or heating, than we would in storage areas, for example
  • Terrestrial Laser Scanning, to produce highly detailed surface models to pin down the geophysical data but also very acurately located biulding platforms that had been recorded over the years by site archaeologists.

This isn’t a photograph, it’s part of the point cloud generated by the laser scanner. You can see the team on the right trying to stay out of the scan!

A lot of fun was had on site getting ourselves and our equipment into the right places. Unlike the dig team, because we had to be quite mobile, with heavy gear, we needed to use a rope-access team to provide safety lines for us, so there were a lot of logistics to contend with around making sure we could cover the right areas. We were on site for a total of about 8 days, and really enjoyed talking to visitors to the site about what we were doing and why: people were particularly interested in the laser scanner and we’ve had to edit a lot of tourists (and seagulls) out of our point clouds!


KC getting the scanner as far along the southern terrace as possible!

So what did we find out? The earth resistance and GPR surveys taken together confirmed the locations of some of the walls and floors that have subsequently been found in the trenches, and hinted that the archaeology on the southern terrace had a different character than that on the eastern area. The magnetic susceptibility data also suggested clear differences between the two areas, with low values on the eastern area and higher values with internal patterning on the southern terrace. This suggested to us that on the southern terrace people were living or working, using fire either for heat and cooking or for industrial purposes. We could also see come strong patches of enhancement that lay between what were thought to be buildings, so we suggested there may be one larger building here instead. The eastern area showed no settlement related enhancement. So were the buildings there perhaps storehouses? Many of the already excavated buildings in this area have been interpreted as stores rather than dwellings.

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Earth resistance underway (with ropes!) on the southern terrace

The laser scans were useful not only to us but to the excavation team as well as they will form the basis for the topographical data being collected about the site. We were able to use them to make important topographic corrections to our radar profiles, without which interpretation would have been very difficult!

GPR survey on the southern terrace: this is where one of the walls was found

GPR survey on the southern terrace: this is where one of the walls was found

So, what next? Well, our first and most exciting job is going to be to get all the plans and sections back in from the excavation team and see how they match up with our interpretation, especially of the radar: we were able to survey a larger area than could be excavated, so we can refine our interpretation based on the dig and better predict what other walls and floors lie on the southern terrace. Ideally, we’d like to come back and do even more radar and see if we can cover the entire southern terrace: this might give us the best chance of understanding the exciting structures there and their immediate context. We would also like to do more scanning to provide detailed topographic data for the entire islands. The Tintagel Research Project is set to continue, so watch this space….

You can see more photos from our work on facebook!

You wouldn't beleive how many of these we had to delete from the sky in our scans!

You wouldn’t beleive how many of these we had to delete from the sky in our scans!


From Monumental War to the Monuments of War – Archaeology of the Great War in the Republic of Macedonia

Couple of weeks ago I went on a field trip to Mariovo region (Novaci municipality) for searching the remains of the First World War in the Republic of Macedonia. Field activities were based on surface prospecting of the Macedonian front remains during the Great War. The visit included the 1050 elevation, the upstream of the Black River (Crna River today or ancient Erigon), the villages Skochivir and Slivnica where the hospitals were settled during the WW1 and the field near the village of Bach which was used by the Air Forces. Immense photo and video documentation for some future research was made.

Oh, no, I am not a historian, nor will ever be engaged in modern history, since I am a prehistoric archaeologist and I love working with stone tools. But I am a director of HAEMUS, which is a very big center for scientific research and promotion of the culture based in Skopje and I manage many projects on different heritage topics, including this one about the WW1.


Regarding the Great War, I could surely say that Republic of Macedonia is definitely an open-air museum. “Eastern Front”, known under many names in historical records but mostly as “Macedonian front”, has great importance for the history of Macedonia and the Balkans. I’ve had to pass through hard battles in the last three years in order to promote the archaeology from the First World War in the Republic of Macedonia. As an organization we’ve ran few projects, public debates and we organized very big conference on topic ”First World War in the collective memory – Exchange of experiences in the Balkans”. Still it wasn’t enough. I was devastated to show to everybody that on the modern territory of the Republic of Macedonia took place some of the biggest battles that killed thousands of soldiers of many nationalities and religions, which today are buried on more conceptual organized necropolises/cemeteries. The architectonic remains in places where battles took place, includes parts of the destroyed complexes of bunkers, positions, machine gun nests and trenches that can be seen today. They comprise the physical remains of significant points in European and world history in order to explain the reasons that led to the creation of ‘Modern Europe’. On the entire front line length of about 450 km there are thousands and thousands of artifacts and monuments everywhere, waiting to be explored, excavated, identified, cleaned, preserved and displayed in the museum, to tell the piece of the unknown European history.

WW1_Macedonia_conference_2015_promo WW1_Macedonia_conference_2015_poster

Archaeology of the First World War in the Republic of Macedonia so far has been completely unknown for both, the public and experts. But we won’t give up so easily from this topic. We are trying to contribute to the creation of some domestic archives of materials, as well as the exchanging of international experiences. Building human capacities who would participate in the dialogue for peace and reconciliation in the Balkan countries through scientific research and understanding of the past of this period, is also one of the aims of our work. We would like to express our gratitude to the of Embassy of France in Skopje, the French Institute in Skopje, cooperation Normandie/Macédoine, many municipalities, the citizen associations and all those scientists who actively helped us with own research or as logistics. And we are very happy bringing on daylight a topic less known but very challenging for many colleagues.

Vasilka Dimitrovska
Director of HAEMUS
Center for scientific research
and promotion of culture

For more info check:

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This article was written as part of the action for ‘Day of Archaeologists’ (August 04, 2016). The goal is to raise public awareness of cultural heritage and the responsibility that archaeologists have about it.

Archéologie d’un village de Touraine

Bonjour ! Nous sommes Jean-Philippe Chimier et Nicolas Fouillet, tous deux archéologues à l’Inrap et membres permanents du Laboratoire Archéologie et Territoires de l’UMR 7324 Citeres (université de Tours). C’est à ce double titre que nous dirigeons un programme de recherche sur le village d’Esvres (Centre – Val-de-Loire, France). Ces recherches ont pour objectif l’étude du village dans « la longue durée », des premières occupations du site à la période gauloise à aujourd’hui. La particularité de ces travaux est de mêler archéologie préventive et archéologie programmée. Ces dernières sont constituées de prospections au sol, de sondages archéologiques, d’études de documents d’archives, d’inventaire du patrimoine bâti et d’une enquête documentaire. Au total, ce sont près de 50 chercheurs qui ont travaillé sur le programme depuis sa mise en place en 2011.

Esvres, le centre-bourg © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap, 2012

Esvres, le centre-bourg © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap, 2012

L’étude du village dans sa globalité a nécessité une immersion au sein de la communauté, qu’ils s’agissent des élus, des agents communaux et bien-sûr de ses habitants. C’est aux Esvriens, sans qui nous n’aurions pas pu écrire cette page d’histoire, que l’équipe archéologique souhaite rendre hommage à l’occasion de ce « Day of Archaeology ».

Les habitats et les habitants.

Une partie des opérations programmées correspond à la réalisation de sondages manuels ou d’observations architecturales chez les particuliers. Nous avons globalement été accueillis avec bienveillance, mais gagner la confiance des habitants est un travail qui s’est construit doucement, au fur et à mesure des campagnes de terrain. Il nous a fallu constituer un réseau à partir des quelques contacts que nous avions initialement.

Surveillance de travaux au chevet de l’église et visite spontanée des riverains. © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Surveillance de travaux au chevet de l’église et visite spontanée des riverains. © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Sondage chez un particulier, et dans le cimetière gallo-romain ! © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Sondage chez un particulier, et dans le cimetière gallo-romain ! © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Relevé d’une cave au scanner 3D © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Relevé d’une cave au scanner 3D © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

C’est la municipalité qui a apporté les premières clefs en organisant en 2009 une exposition sur les premières fouilles préventives. Depuis lors, nous avons travaillé en collaboration avec les différents services : la culture bien sûr, mais aussi l’urbanisme, les services techniques et la police municipale. Esvres possède aussi un réseau associatif actif et dense qui a permis de nous faire connaître. Nous avons rencontré les membres d’associations diverses (randonnée, parents d’élèves, conseil économique de la paroisse…), mais c’est surtout grâce à l’association locale pour la défense du patrimoine (ASPE) que nous avons pu entrer en contact avec des particuliers motivés et intéressés qui nous ont donné accès à leur propriété.
Il nous a aussi fallu rencontrer les habitants par nous-mêmes, en expliquant au cas par cas ‑ et au porte à porte ! ‑ la nature et les objectifs de nos travaux. Malgré nos appréhensions, nous avons rarement été déçus et en tous cas jamais mal reçus !
La réalisation de prospections pédestres sur des terres agricoles a nécessité de pousser la porte des fermes pour avoir l’autorisation d’accéder aux champs. Par l’intermédiaire des viticulteurs d’Esvres qui nous ont  accueillis chaleureusement, nous avons pu facilement collaborer avec les autres agriculteurs.

Prospections pédestres au milieu des vignes avec des stagiaires de l’université de Tours. © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Prospections pédestres au milieu des vignes avec des stagiaires de l’université de Tours. © Jean-Philippe Chimier, Inrap

Les sondages archéologiques manuels, aussi limités soient-ils (jusqu’à 3 m²), ont révélé l’extension d’un habitat gaulois et antique et ont permis d’explorer les occupations médiévales du village. L’étude des bâtiments du bourg a mis en évidence une série de maisons anciennes, dont certaines dateraient de la fin Moyen Âge (vers 1500). Elles sont souvent dissimulées au milieu de constructions plus récentes et nous avons quelquefois eu de bonnes surprises, au détour d’une trappe oubliée.

Rendre aux Esvriens ce qui appartient aux Esvriens

Même si à notre sens, restituer à tous le résultat de nos études doit être la finalité de toute recherche archéologique, c’est encore plus vrai dans le cadre de ce programme. Depuis le début nous avons tenu à informer les Esvriens de l’avancée de nos travaux. Chaque mois de septembre, lors de Journées européennes du Patrimoine, l’équipe propose plusieurs interventions. Une d’elles est toujours consacrée au bilan des travaux de terrain de l’année en cours et au moins une autre communication présente un thème ou une période particulière. En juin, lors de Journées nationales de l’Archéologie (JNA), nous évoquons l’histoire et l’archéologie d’Esvres lors d’une « archéo-balade », une sorte de visite-conférence du village qui remporte toujours un franc succès malgré un nombre de places limitées. En 2014, toujours lors des JNA, une rencontre a été organisée avec les chercheurs de l’équipe qui ont présenté leurs travaux. Ouverte à tous le samedi, elle était réservée aux enfants des écoles la veille et, on l’espère, aura permis de créer de nombreuses vocations…

« Archéo-balade » durant les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2013. © Laurent Petit, Inrap, 2013

« Archéo-balade » durant les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2013. © Laurent Petit, Inrap, 2013

Les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2016, rencontre avec les villageois. © Denis Godignon, Inrap

Les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2016, rencontre avec les villageois. © Denis Godignon, Inrap

Les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2016, initiation à la céramologie. © Nicolas Fouillet, Inrap

Les Journées nationales de l’Archéologie 2016, initiation à la céramologie. © Nicolas Fouillet, Inrap

2016 constitue la fin du programme de terrain mais pas la fin de nos recherches sur Esvres, il reste encore à réaliser la synthèse de toute cette documentation. De retour en laboratoire, comment valoriser nos travaux à venir ? Sans doute via internet qui permettra de garder un contact à distance avec nos interlocuteurs du terrain (vous en êtes peut-être la preuve en lisant ces lignes !) et de s’ouvrir à d’autres lecteurs, Esvriens ou non.

Jean-Philippe Chimier et Nicolas Fouillet, Inrap / UMR 7324 Citeres-LAT


Commercial geophysics for archaeology – a day at my desk

Cs mag survey around the long cairn

Cs vapour magnetic survey around the long cairn

We are a geophysical survey company working mostly in archaeology with some other shallow geophysical work alongside. This is ArchaeoPhysica’s second Day of Archaeology post, this time featuring mostly office work.

I’m Anne Roseveare, the Operations Manager, and I spend much of my time at a desk, make a few field visits and occasionally can be found in the workshop building and mending things. Unsurprisingly, my day involved quite a bit of time on the phone and emailing people about quote requests, ground conditions and schedules. Harvest dates are a hot topic at the moment as often fieldwork is held until the crops are cleared and we’re then wanted everywhere in a short time window. Our overall timetabling process has similarities to multi-dimensional tetris, or at least it feels like it.

We had fresh batches of data in from the previous couple of days’ fieldwork to process, visualise and prepare interim results to send to our archaeological clients. Kathryn’s been busy working through these, checking data quality and getting the data sets GIS-ready. I’ve also been working on the final stage of reporting for a multi-method geophysical survey on a deserted medieval settlement.

One of last week’s surveys was a couple of fields of magnetic data collected on a research basis next to a monument we surveyed using ERT (electrical resistance tomography) a few months ago. It’s not often you get to survey a neolithic long cairn and visit the excavation of the damaged part, so we were keen to see what (if anything) there was to see around it. Our work will inform the long term management plan for the monument.

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Our earlier ERT survey in progress

sloping slice across ERT profiles shows the internal structure

Sloping slice across ERT profiles showing some of the mound’s internal structure

some of the re-excavated internal structure in the damaged area - useful to compare with ERT

Some of the re-excavated internal structure in the damaged area – useful to compare with ERT results

talking through findings with one of the excavators

Talking through findings with one of the excavators

The rest of Friday’s workload was as usual completely commercially confidential – most of our work is development-related and is attached to planning applications (so no pictures from these).

I reviewed a WSI (Written Scope of Investigation) prepared by colleagues Daniel & Martin for a large project, updating the sections on soils & geologies. We often produce a WSI for large or complicated projects – sometimes it is required by the Local Authority Archaeologist or the client. It contains a summary of the purpose of the project and background information that will influence our geophysical work, including heritage and environmental information. Next comes the reasoning why our proposal is the most effective way forward and what the limitations are, followed by what the outputs from our work will be.

Another chunk of my time went into preparation for a forthcoming project, where there are multiple areas to survey and strict access arrangements as the site is sensitive. In this case, our project GIS will help us and the client to map out survey & no-go zones, schedule the different work areas (and re-schedule if needed as the work unfolds) as well as be the usual foundation for our reporting. We’ll be mapping visible signs of landscaping as the fieldwork goes on, too, to give our geophysical data local context.

Behind the scenes, out of sight of clients, there’s always other things happening. For example Martin was preparing a funding proposal to support a research project on a prehistoric mining site and there was unexciting but important maintenance of our internal project archive. Also, project Pegasus is moving along, with Martin & Benj on 3D design and construction (all will be revealed later this year). We usually have a development project on the go – it’s a case of fitting things round the commercial work.

I lost count how many mugs of tea and coffee we got through but this week’s Friday cake was carrot cake with particularly squishy icing – important fuel!

The many researchers of the GeoSatReSeArch Lab: high tech archaeology!

For the last year (and for the next three weeks), I have been working with a team of archaeologists and scientists from related disciplines at the Laboratory of Geophysical – Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment (GeoSatReSeArch Lab), at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies, in Rethymno on Crete. The lab and the IMS are part of the Greek research foundation, FORTH. The IMS is the only FORTH centre which deals with the humanities and social sciences. The other Institutes based at Heraklion, Patras and Ioannina, cover the fields of computer science and the natural and biomedical sciences. The specific purpose of IMS is to support and invigorate research in the field of the human and social sciences, as well as to promote the application of advanced technologies in the field.

In that respect, the Lab conducts its own research,  but also participates in collaborations with the Ephorate (the Greek State Archaeology service), Universities, Foreign Schools and many others. A key aspect of our work is showcasing the potential of high-tech methodologies in archaeology, and we do a lot of teaching and outreach work alongside the frontline scientific research.

After a year working here, I thought it would be interesting to make my ‘Day of Archaeology’ post about the whole lab, not just me, to give you all an idea of the diversity of the work we do and the projects we are involved in.

Conducting Archaeological Geophysics:

Kelsey Lowe- PostDoc Researcher

Kelsey and her data

Kelsey and her data

“While fieldwork generally beckons most of us this time of year, or at least myself, I find that today I am sitting comfortably at my desk processing geophysical data from a Middle Bronze Age site in Cyprus. As part of my current position at IMS, having the chance to work along other Mediterranean experts has provided a very unique experience, especially in regards to archaeological and geophysical interpretation of Bronze Age landscapes. Oh look, what do we have here?!? Architecture! Happy Processing!”

Abir Jrad- PostDoc Researcher

Abir surveying, coring, and processing

Abir surveying, coring, and processing

“Hello, I am Abir, I am not an archaeologist, but a geophysicist who has the pleasure to work with archaeologists  searching for buried archaeological features using geophysical methods. Today I will continue the processing of the data acquired in the last field work on the archaeological site of Kenchreai, in Greece! We combined several geophysical methods to prospect the studied area. As usual the main method was the gradiometry with the Sensys instrument. The gradiometry and also the electromagnetic acquisition show an anomaly with high magnetic gradient intensity and also a high magnetic susceptibility. In the location of this potential archaeological anomaly, we did a hand coring, to collect samples on a vertical profile. The samples collected were analyzed using the Bartington susceptibility meter in the Lab, which allowed us to measure the magnetic susceptibility at different frequencies. The correlation between the field geophysical data and the laboratory analysis will allow me to realize a constraint modelling for the suspected anomaly!

Carmen Cuenca-Garcia – PostDoc Researcher

Figure 1: Carmen and her data!

Figure 1: Carmen and her data!

“Hi there, this is Carmen reporting from her desk on Day A (see photo). Figure 1 above encapsulates today’s work, which is… more reporting. In this case, I am writing up the results of analyses of soil samples collected at several Neolithic tell-sites (or magoulas as they are called here in Greece). Before the soil sampling sampling, we surveyed the magoulas using a range of geophysical techniques during several fieldwork campaigns and got fantastic results. We analysed the soil samples using magnetic susceptibility and phosphate analysis, then we correlated the results with those from the geophysical surveys. This type of integrated analysis is extremely interesting and informative for archaeological prospection but it also involves lots of intense work: dealing with many and diverse types of datasets, stats, cross referencing many graphs, tables… which may be a wee bit tough to deal with when you are in a celebratory mood like today ☺ Such analysis also require lots of collaborative work and I particularly enjoy the enthusiastic chats I have with my colleague Abir Jrad, who is working with me on the correlations. Part A in Figure 1 shows a view of how you would find me if you pop into my office right now and part B is where I would rather like to be… outside, fieldworking and enjoying the anticipation of tasting the delicious and well-deserved Thessalian food after a days work on the top of a magoula!”

Teaching and Training Activities:

Kayt Armstrong (me!) – PostDoc researcher

Interns Valanto and Aggeliki testing their RTK GPS skills on the IMS roof terrace

Interns Valanto and Aggeliki testing their RTK GPS skills on the IMS roof terrace

“My day-to-day job at the lab is as the GIS officer for a project looking at the dynamics of settlement on Crete in the Early Byzantine period (roughly the 4th-9th centuries AD). Part of the goals of that project are to further the use of GIS, aerial prospection and other high-tech methodologies in Greece. As a result, I have two interns working with me at the moment, from the Archaeology programme at the University of Crete. They are making important contributions to the project, and in exchange learning database skills, GIS methods and how to survey using the latest RTK GPS equipment. Today they are testing some user manuals I have made for the team, so that the amazing high tech kit can continue to be used after I have left in August. My job isn’t just to bring in these skills to the project, but to train local archaeologists, students and researchers in them, so that they are taken up more widely in the profession. Pay it forward!”

Developing Prospection Methods and Equipment:

Apostolos Sarris- lab Director, Ian Moffat – Post Doc Researcher and Beatrice Giuzio- engineering student intern

Drift testing the EM kit (on the beach!)

Drift testing the EM kit (on the beach!)

“We  spent the day testing electromagnetic induction (EMI) instruments on the beach near Episkopi on the north coast of Crete.  EMI is a geophysical technique that is frequently used in archaeology to measure the conductivity and magnetic susceptibility of the soil to find archaeological sites and map the geology that contains them.  Despite the usefulness of this method, recent research has shown that EMI instruments are prone to drifting, that is that their data values change during the course of a day even when sitting in the same location.  To determine if this drift exists for the EMI instruments used at IMS we set them up near the beach and collected data continuously in the same location for 7 hours while monitoring changes in temperature.  This experiment showed two clear findings: 1) that the adjacent taverna has excellent seafood dishes, and 2) that the EMI instruments drift in ways that are not correlated to temperature change.  These findings suggest that much more research to understand drift is required, particularly when using EMI to map archaeological sites that are difficult to map with this method, such as those without extensive metal in the subsurface.”

Aerial Prospection and Photogrammetry:

Gianluca Cantoro- PostDoc Researcher

Gianluca processing images from a flight earlier in the day

Gianluca processing images from a flight earlier in the day

“My name is Gianluca and I am an aerial archaeologist and photo-interpreter. My job consists in looking into photographic archives in search for aerial images where archaeological traces can be identified. In combination with historical photographs study, I also undertake aerial survey myself with Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS or simply drones) or ultralight high-wing aircraft (usually something like a Cessna 172) over specific areas.

In the photo, I’m just back from one of these archaeological aerial surveys and I am sorting the pictures I took during the flight. You can see a map with notes I had in the plane, my ideal flight path and areas of interests, my pilot-flight kneeboards and my camera.

Once images have been synchronized with the GPS logger (so that each photograph holds the GPS location in the EXIF tags), they are entered in a digital database and then photogrammetrically processed, to obtain orthophotos and 3D models of the photographed areas (or potential “unknown” archaeological sites). A part of my work at the IMS I have developed software to make these tasks easier, which is free to use and downloadable here. ”

Augmented and Virtual Reality for Cultural Heritage:

Lemonia Argyriou- software engineer

Testing the Augmented Reality application

Testing the Augmented Reality application

“Working in Rethymno, Crete during summer … it’s  burning hot outside (34 degrees) and I’m finalising an Augmented Reality android educational app for Cultural Heritage.

At least things have become easier the last years after the release of the Unity3D, an extremely powerful and easy to use game platform. By the use also of AR APIs (such as Vuforia or Meteo), text, images and also small objects can be tracked and allow the triggering and presentation of 3D models along with 3D text and voice-over explanations. This leads to a more informative and immersive experience that could easily enhance the level of quality and edutainment in cultural heritage education.

The application I’m working on at the moment is accompanied by a printed map of Crete, displaying aerial photos of the most attractive ancient monuments on the island. By using an android mobile device and hovering over the location of a monument on the map, the relevant 3D model of the monument appears on the screen and can be observed from any side simply by moving closer or tilting the device. There is also a UI that allows the user to listen to the historical information of the specific monument in their preferred language (Greek or English), learning about their story of preservation and their role in the past.

That’s all by now…the beach is calling me 🙂 Day Of(f) Archaeology!”

Nikos Papadopoulos Jr – software engineer

Screenshot from the kinect navigation of the model of Koule Castle

Screenshot from the kinect navigation of the model of Koule Castle

“Hello there,  and many greetings from Rethymno, Crete. Although the day is suitable for going to the beach, I’m working in the lab developing a cultural heritage virtual navigation application for Koule Castle (Iraklion, Crete) based on natural human interaction. The specific application can capture simple user gestures, like steady walking or torso rotation and lean, with the use of a Microsoft Kinect sensor. The gestures are used for navigating in the virtual space of Koules castle offering the user a more immersive cultural experience. All of this this happens thanks to the Unity3D game platform and of course lots of coffee (sorry…programming). Time for some raki now :-)”

And lots more besides:

Quite a few of the scientists at the lab didn’t have time to write something today, or were off elsewhere doing fieldwork or attending meetings and workshops. Other ongoing activities at the lab include using near-surface geophysics to monitor pollution, complex systems and agent based models for historical and archaeological research, GIS classifications of landscapes in terms of geomorphology, risk-mapping, shallow marine geophysics, processing algorithms for GPR data…. I could go on!

I’ve had an amazing year here in Rethymno. I have learned so much, and hopefully I have given something back and passed on some skills to colleagues and students here. I’ll be keeping in touch with the lab team via their facebook page, and I hope to come back to use the huge archive of geophysical data they hold here for a project I am cooking up with my old Dutch colleagues 🙂

As it starts to cool down (a bit), I am going to shut down my computer and head for home, where I will spend what is left of the evening pouring over the other Day of Archaeology posts from around the world, and being very thankful I get to work in such an amazing community.

Happy Day of Archaeology!

Kayt x

Non-invasive surveying of the archaeological resource potential in the Bobolice region, West Pomeranian Voivodeship

Working as an archaeologists at University can have many faces. The current need to combine different areas of interests can result in fascinating working in grants that touch vide and detailed areas of knowledge and a joy to work with a lot of specialists .The one I am coordinated and I would like to report shortly is actually conducted by Institute of Prehistory of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland (2014-2015).

The problem of archaeological site identification is a significant issue in the development of research in both archaeology and the field of conservation where the goal is to protect and manage archaeological heritage. The Non-invasive surveying of the archaeological resource potential in the Bobolice region, West Pomeranian Voivodeship project concerns research involving comprehensive use of the latest non-invasive technologies in archaeology in order to identify, verify and conduct an inventory of archaeological sites in the Bobolice region (West Pomeranian Voivodeship), Poland.

The project integrates several field prospection methods in order to create a comprehensive inventory of the area under investigation. Data on archaeological sites are gathered using five basic methods: (1) airborne laser scanning measurements (LIDAR) based on data from ISOK (IT System of the Country’s Protection against extreme hazards); (2) analysis of satellite images of selected areas; (3) aerial survey; (4) verifying field-walking prospection; (5) geophysical survey of selected archaeological sites.

Archaeological survey encounters a major problem in the Bobolice region as a lot of the surface area forested. The application of other prospection methods which allow better detection of the archaeological resources is particularly useful in the case of forested areas. Airborne laser scanning (ALS) within the ISOK framework,  makes it possible to penetrate wooded zones systematically. Thanks to this method it will be possible to identify and mark the precise location of archaeological sites and features in a given area, to determine the context in which they have been found, the state of preservation and any possible threats.

The research conducted so far led to a positive confirmation of existing and already known archaeological sites and structures – mainly settlements of the early Middle Ages (including Górawino, Kurowo, Bobrowo, Głodowa). In addition, it allowed us to identify a number of unknown archaeological sites, located in the forests , including several extensive clusters of stone and earthen mounds – burial barrows, often destroyed, and different stone constructions and pavements.

This project is innovative in its methodological  (scientific-technological) and analytical approach. Analysis of the data acquired via the various prospection methods applied will lead to consideration of how effective these methods are whilst taking both their potential and limitations into account. It will also focus attention on the fact that these methods must be integrated in order to gain a comprehensive interpretation of the area and help create appropriate conditions for the promotion of this type of practice within archaeological milieux. It seems the effectiveness of the proposed methods and the benefits emerging from their integration is significant in shaping conservation policies (conservation aims), knowledge about the past (educational aims) and in disseminating information on archaeological resources. It is also a fundamental point in raising awareness of the need to protect archaeological heritage and  of its economic value regarding regional tourism development (promotional aims).

The project is financed by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland and coordinated by National Heritage Board of Poland.

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Arghhh, please, not one of THOSE days!!

After spending a beautiful, sunny day in the field gathering geophysical data, the office awaits me. Data must be processed, they said!

There were no problems with the GPR and magnetometry. The site was a nice, even lawn and like a football field. It was a location near the Dutch coast with clear blue skies & fish for lunch. What a way to collect your data!!!

But the problems started the day after.

8.00 am

Euhm, where is my backup USB with the data? Can’t find it. And who took my fieldlaptop this morning?

Please, do not let this happen to me.

Oh, there it is. Pfew

9.00 am

processing GPR data. Hmmm, there are a lot of fielddrains visible in the data. This former soccer field clearly needed draining. I hope it doesn’t obscure my relevant data too much.

Oh, thanks very much, this visual basic software from a previous century keeps crashing. What is wrong, and where is the corrupted file? Checking lots of files one by one.

10.00 am

several  phone calls:

  • ‘yes, sir. We can do that. Oh, you want us to do the survey by the end of this week? Hmmm.’
  • ‘oh, were you expecting the report yesterday?’
  • ‘No, sorry. We can’t go any lower with our costs. Yes, you’re free to look for another geofyzz company.’

11.00 am

Oh, my God. I can’t believe the amount of recent rubble just below the subsurface. This red brick demolition waste is masking my magneto-data. Let’s see if I can fix this. Sigh.

The small archaeological excavations from the 80’s and 90’s do provide additional information, but why do their pits/trenches have to be so visible in my data! Go away!!

12.00 pm

Blue screen of Death

13.00 pm

Yep, several of those phone calls you do NOT want to deal with right now.

But just have to.

14.00 pm

Oh great, I have an inbox full of email. Let’s see if some procrastination will make my day.

14.30 pm

Euhmm, do you really want a financial forecast of these projects? You mean as in right now? But…

15.00 pm

postprocessing, filtering, enhancing, gnashing of teeth, munching pencil stubs. Login to GIS failed. Out of memory. Why am I not out in the field? Merrily singing aloud while gathering data. HELP!!

16.00 pm

But WOOT? Is that….yes..the former foundations. Hurray, here they are! And the results from the GPR differ from magnetometry, but combined they give very interesting anomalies.

Let’s make an appointment with the archaeologist to start some interpretation next week.

While humming a joyful tune, I shut down my computer.  Another day at the office. While all the odds seemed working against me today, I obtained some very interesting results.

Big smile!! I do love geofyzz.

walking with magnetometry multisensor cart

Walking with magnetometry multisensor cart

GPR behind the quad

GPR behind the quad

disturbances in the mag-data

Disturbances in the mag data

interesting features!

Interesting features!

lots of drains!!

Lots of drains!!

Isola Sacra – Existing Features

So the survey at the Isola Sacra has been running for the last three years. The area comprises an artificial island between Portus and Ostia Antica with the line of the Via Flavia running from north to south. A number of questions are being directed at the area, in particular relating to the location of the ancient coastline in the Roman period, the division and make-up of the ancient landscape an the presence or absence of buildings, workshop zones, cemeteries and other sites.

One thing that has stemmed from the survey to date is the presence of ancient canals sub-dividing the area, a small example of which appears below.

More of the same being processed at the moment suggesting the continuation of similar features. The area is marked by broad geological features also, all relating to the prograding of the Tiber delta in antiquity. For more information see and and

Working on the DART project: Hyperspectral remote sensing and archaeology

My name is David Stott and I am a PhD student at the University of Leeds. I’m working on the DART project, which is looking at improving our understanding of how archaeological deposits are detected using remote sensing techniques. This work is important, as remote sensing allows us to prospect for archaeological features and understand the nature of archaeological landscapes. This is crucial as better knowledge about the nature and location of significant cultural heritage sites enables us to protect them by mitigating human actions and environmental processes that place them at risk.