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Article

Geological Challenges of Archaeological Prospecting: The Northern Peloponnese as a Type Location of Populated Syn-Rift Settings

1
Applied Geophysics, Institute of Geosciences, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
2
Austria Academy of Sciences, Austrian Archaeological Institute, Athens Branch, 10683 Athens, Greece
3
Ancient Cultures of Denmark and the Mediterranean, National Museum Denmark, 1471 Copenhagen, Denmark
4
Department of Classical Studies, Classical and Early Aegean Archaeology, University of Salzburg, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
5
Classical Archaeology FB III, Trier University, 54286 Trier, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(15), 2450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152450
Received: 3 July 2020 / Revised: 21 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Archaeology)
The Northern Peloponnese is not only home of a series of ancient poleis that are being studied by archaeologists, but it is also located on the southern shoulder of the most active extensional crustal structure in the world; the Corinthian rift. This rift has shaped the Northern Peloponnese as we now see it today since the Pliocene. Normal faulting, the tectonic uplift of syn-rift sediments and sea level changes, has shaped a landscape of steps rising from the coast to the ridges in the hinterland that provides challenging conditions to a geophysical survey. Where we can find coarse grained slope and delta deposits of conglomerate on top of banks of marl on ridges and slopes, the lower marine terraces and the coastal plain as well as valleys show the protective caprock eroded and the marl covered by young alluvial deposits. These materials show only a small contrast in their magnetic properties, which reduces the importance of magnetic mapping for the archaeological prospection in this region. The human utilization of the coastal plain and the urban areas pose additional challenges. These challenges have been overcome through various approaches that are shown in exemplary case studies from Aigeira and Sikyon. Whereas a combination of magnetic mapping and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) works very well on the ridges and along the slopes where we find coarser sediments in addition to the magnetic mapping, it is not suitable in the coastal plain due to the attenuating properties of the alluvial sediment. Here, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) proved to be very successful in mapping entire parts of a settlement in great detail. Seismic soundings were also sucessfully applied in determining the bedrock depth, the detection of walls and in the question of locating the harbor basin. In the presented six exemplary case studies, the following findings were made: (1) A fortification wall and building foundations at a depth of 0.4–1.2 m on a plateau northwest of the acropolis of Aigeira was found by 400 MHz GPR. (2) A honeycomb-shaped pattern of magnetic anomalies that suggested cavities could be identified as a weathering pattern of conglomerate rocks. (3) A rock basement 2.3 m deep and remains of an enclosing wall of the Aigeira theater area were found by shear wave refraction measurements. (4) Extensive ERT surveys detected several building remains in Sikyon like a potential building and grave monuments as well as several small houses. (5) A silted-up depression in the sediments of the coastal plane located through Love wave measurements, could be taken as evidence for either a silted harbor or a navigable riverbed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aigeira; Old Sikyon; archaeogeophysical prospection; geological challenges; GPR; ERT; seismics Aigeira; Old Sikyon; archaeogeophysical prospection; geological challenges; GPR; ERT; seismics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rusch, K.; Stümpel, H.; Gauß, W.; Müth, S.; Sokolicek, A.; Kissas, K.; Rabbel, W. Geological Challenges of Archaeological Prospecting: The Northern Peloponnese as a Type Location of Populated Syn-Rift Settings. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 2450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152450

AMA Style

Rusch K, Stümpel H, Gauß W, Müth S, Sokolicek A, Kissas K, Rabbel W. Geological Challenges of Archaeological Prospecting: The Northern Peloponnese as a Type Location of Populated Syn-Rift Settings. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(15):2450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152450

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rusch, Katharina, Harald Stümpel, Walter Gauß, Silke Müth, Alexander Sokolicek, Konstantinos Kissas, and Wolfgang Rabbel. 2020. "Geological Challenges of Archaeological Prospecting: The Northern Peloponnese as a Type Location of Populated Syn-Rift Settings" Remote Sensing 12, no. 15: 2450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152450

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