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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(12), 1022; doi:10.3390/rs8121022

Improved Geoarchaeological Mapping with Electromagnetic Induction Instruments from Dedicated Processing and Inversion

1
Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
2
Section for Archaeology, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University/Moesgaard Museum, Moesgård Alle 15, DK-8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth L. Kvamme, Richard Müller and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 6 September 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeological Prospecting and Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Increasingly, electromagnetic induction methods (EMI) are being used within the area of archaeological prospecting for mapping soil structures or for studying paleo-landscapes. Recent hardware developments have made fast data acquisition, combined with precise positioning, possible, thus providing interesting possibilities for archaeological prospecting. However, it is commonly assumed that the instrument operates in what is referred to as Low Induction Number, or LIN. Here, we detail the problems of the approximations while discussing a best practice for EMI measurements, data processing, and inversion for understanding a paleo-landscape at an Iron Age human bone depositional site (Alken Enge) in Denmark. On synthetic as well as field data we show that soil mapping based on EMI instruments can be improved by applying data processing methodologies from adjacent scientific fields. Data from a 10 hectare study site was collected with a line spacing of 1–4 m, resulting in roughly 13,000 processed soundings, which were inverted with a full non-linear algorithm. The models had higher dynamic range in the retrieved resistivity values, as well as sharper contrasts between structural elements than we could obtain by looking at data alone. We show that the pre-excavation EMI mapping facilitated an archaeological prospecting where traditional trenching could be replaced by a few test pits at selected sites, hereby increasing the chance of finding human bones. In a general context we show that (1) dedicated processing of EMI data is necessary to remove coupling from anthropogenic structures (fences, phone cables, paved roads, etc.), and (2) that carrying out a dedicated full non-linear inversion with spatial coherency constraints improves the accuracy of resistivities and structures over using the data as they are or using the Low Induction Number (LIN) approximation. View Full-Text
Keywords: geophysical prospecting; near-surface geophysics; electromagnetic induction; archaeological prospecting; processing; inversion geophysical prospecting; near-surface geophysics; electromagnetic induction; archaeological prospecting; processing; inversion
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Christiansen, A.V.; Pedersen, J.B.; Auken, E.; Søe, N.E.; Holst, M.K.; Kristiansen, S.M. Improved Geoarchaeological Mapping with Electromagnetic Induction Instruments from Dedicated Processing and Inversion. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 1022.

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