EAC Guidelines for the Use of Geophysics in Archaeology

Questions to Ask and Points to Consider

By Armin Schmidt, Paul Linford, Neil Linford, Andrew David, Chris Gaffney, Apostolos Sarris and Jörg Fassbinder

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Derived from the Historic England guidelines on Geophysical Survey in Archaeological Field Evaluation, these guidelines provide an overview of the issues to be considered when undertaking or commissioning geophysical survey in archaeology.

As every project differs in its requirements (e.g. from finding sites to creating detailed maps of individual structures) and variations in geological and environmental conditions lead to different geophysical responses, there is no single 'best' survey technique or methodology. This guide, in its European approach, highlights the various questions to be asked before a survey is undertaken. It does not provide recipe book advice on how to do a geophysical survey or a tick list of which technique is suitable under what conditions. Experienced archaeological geophysicists should be consulted to address the questions that are being posed. Using geophysical techniques and methods inappropriately will lead to disappointment and may, ultimately, result in archaeologists not using them at all. "If all you have is a hammer (or magnetometer), driving a screw becomes impossible".


  • Part I: Guidance for geophysical survey
    1. Introduction
    2. Justification for survey
    3. Fieldwork
    4. Data treatment
    5. Data interpretation
    6. The survey report
    7. Dissemination
    8. Data archiving
    9. Competence of survey personnel
  • Part II: Geophysical survey and planning applications
    1. Archaeology and planning applications
    2. Briefs and specifications
    3. The survey report
    4. Dissemination
    5. Data archiving
    6. Legal considerations
  • Part III: Choice of geophysical technique
    1. Introduction
    2. Choice of geophysical survey
    3. Costs
    4. Urban and brownfield sites
    5. Cemeteries
    6. Alluvium
    7. Wetlands
    8. Road and pipeline corridors
    9. Wind farms
    10. Very large areas
  • Part IV: Introduction to archaeological geophysics
    1. Application of techniques
    2. Analysis of geophysical data
  • Part V: References
  • Part VI: Appendices

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 137
  • ISBN: 978-963-9911-73-4


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