Frozen: The Potential and Pitfalls of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology in the Alaskan Arctic
AbstractGround-penetrating radar (GPR) offers many advantages for assessing archaeological potential in frozen and partially frozen contexts in high latitude and alpine regions. These settings pose several challenges for GPR, including extreme velocity changes at the interface of frozen and active layers, cryogenic patterns resulting in anomalies that can easily be mistaken for cultural features, and the difficulty in accessing sites and deploying equipment in remote settings. In this study we discuss some of these challenges while highlighting the potential for this method by describing recent successful investigations with GPR in the region. We draw on cases from Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The sites required small aircraft accessibility with light equipment loads and minimal personnel. The substrates we investigate include coastal saturated active layer over permafrost, interior well-drained active layer over permafrost, a frozen thermo-karst lake, and an alpine ice patch. These examples demonstrate that GPR is effective at mapping semi-subterranean house remains in several contexts, including houses with no surface manifestation. GPR is also shown to be effective at mapping anomalies from the skeletal remains of a late Pleistocene mammoth frozen in ice. The potential for using GPR in ice and snow patch archaeology, an area of increasing interest with global environmental change exposing new material each year, is also demonstrated. View Full-Text
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Urban, T.M.; Rasic, J.T.; Alix, C.; Anderson, D.D.; Manning, S.W.; Mason, O.K.; Tremayne, A.H.; Wolff, C.B. Frozen: The Potential and Pitfalls of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology in the Alaskan Arctic. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 1007.
Urban TM, Rasic JT, Alix C, Anderson DD, Manning SW, Mason OK, Tremayne AH, Wolff CB. Frozen: The Potential and Pitfalls of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology in the Alaskan Arctic. Remote Sensing. 2016; 8(12):1007.Chicago/Turabian Style
Urban, Thomas M.; Rasic, Jeffrey T.; Alix, Claire; Anderson, Douglas D.; Manning, Sturt W.; Mason, Owen K.; Tremayne, Andrew H.; Wolff, Christopher B. 2016. "Frozen: The Potential and Pitfalls of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Archaeology in the Alaskan Arctic." Remote Sens. 8, no. 12: 1007.
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