Archaeological Geophysics

Archaeology Index

Archaeologist: Jim Knowles

Jim and John at Blackness

Our primary interest is the use of low-level kite aerial photography. We work mainly in the visible and infra-red parts of the spectrum, but we may extend our work into the near ultra-violet, if appropriate.

Previously, we relied on the generous support of the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society, and Dr Peter Morris, for geophysical survey work. At the beginning of 2010 we were joined by Jim Knowles, a professional archaeologist with extensive experience in geophysical techniques.  Jim is the group's archaeological lead and is also responsible for all geophysical work.

In June 2010, we received an MM Instruments 216M resistance meter from Prof. Bill Martin.

Jim with the Group's MM Instruments 216M resistance meter at Blackness

We use the excellent freeware package Snuffler to process our earth resistance data. This has proved invaluable for our community group needs, but it is always interesting to try out and learn to use other packages. One such piece of software is the new ArchaeoFusion geophysical package, developed by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas. It is aimed at archaeologists using a multi-sensor approach, to quickly and easily process and integrate multiple data sets. It can be used with different data collection platforms from GPR, magnetic, electromagnetic, MS and resistivity methodologies. The data can be easily processed using its straightforward interface and integrated into a processed representation using a suite of useful processing algorithms.
The software is still in an early beta phase of development. Jim has signed up to the beta program and has been testing its features, using our collected earth resistance data, with promising results.

Eventually, Jim hopes to combine data from  kite aerial photographic surveys (Infra-red, thermal, ultra-violet, and visible spectrum photography) with ground based (Metal detecting, field walking, chemical, earth resistance, electrical resistance tomography, magnetic and digital terrain modelling) surveys, as a more integrated approach to data presentation and analysis.

Jim and Tamsyn surveying on Gormyre

In May, 2013, we added a Geoscan FM256 Fluxgate Gradiometer to our equipment.

Jim with the gradiometer on its first outing at Beecraigs.

The Group's other equipment includes
A Nikon EDM Total Station
A Leica Dumpy Level
A Teknetics Omega 8000 metal detector

(Our thanks to Barry Day of Stroud for his help and advice on metal detectors)


Electromagnetic Spectrum

Visible Spectrum KAP Cameras

Sony Alpha 7, 5 Sony Nex-5Rs, Canon S70/S90, HD 808#16s, Pentax/Ricoh WG-10/20s, WG-M1, Samsung NX Mini and others.

(Camera set-up)

A range of Near IR Cameras (720/760/830nm)

Jim Knowles

Two Thermal Imaging Cameras (8-14μm)

One of our first thermal images, 2 September 2011.

See also Photographic Techniques

Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques (DART) (2) pdf
Archaeology Data Service Geophysical Data in Archaeology: A Guide to Good Practice
Archaeological Prospection Resources (APR)
A Review of Geophysical Methods Used in Archaeology
Techniques (1) (2)
Surveying and the Total Station (EDM) - Setting up a grid
Bartington Instruments
Geoscan Research
Others on APR
Snuffler - Freeware Geophysics Software
Other software (1)
Commercial suppliers on APR
Bradford (2)