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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 897;

Shallow Off-Shore Archaeological Prospection with 3-D Electrical Resistivity Tomography: The Case of Olous (Modern Elounda), Greece

Laboratory of Geophysical Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeoenvironment (GeoSat ReSeArch Lab), Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS), Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), Nik. Foka 130, 74 100 Rethymno, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kenneth L. Kvamme, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeological Prospecting and Remote Sensing)
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It is well known that nowadays as well as in the past the vast majority of human habitation and activities are mainly concentrated in littoral areas. Thus the increased attention to coastal zone management contributed to the development and implementation of shallow-water mapping approaches for capturing current environmental conditions. During the last decade, geophysical imaging techniques like electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) have been used in mapping onshore buried antiquities in a non-destructive manner, contributing to cultural heritage management. Despite its increased implementation in mapping on-shore buried archaeological remains, ERT has minimal to non-existent employment for the understanding of the past dynamics in littoral and shallow off-shore marine environments. This work presents the results of an extensive ERT survey in investigating part of the Hellenistic to Byzantine submerged archaeological site of Olous, located on the north-eastern coast of Crete, Greece. A marine area of 7100 m2 was covered with 178 densely spaced ERT lines having a cumulative length of 8.3 km. A combination of submerged static and moving survey modes were used to document potential buried and submerged structures. The acquired data from the marine environment were processed with two-dimensional and three-dimensional inversion algorithms. A real time kinematic global navigation satellite system was used to map the visible submerged walls and compile the bathymetry model of the bay. The adaptation of ERT in reconstructing the underwater archaeological remains in a shallow marine environment presented specific methodological and processing challenges. The in situ experience from the archaeological site of Olous showed that ERT provided a robust method for mapping the submerged archaeological structures related to the ancient built environment (walls, buildings, roads), signifying at the same time the vertical stratigraphy of the submerged sediments. The inherent limitation of employing ERT in a conductive environment is counterbalanced by the incorporation of precise knowledge for the conductivity and bathymetry of the saline water in the modelling and inversion procedure. Although the methodology definitely needs further refinement, the overall outcomes of this work underline the potential of ERT imaging being integrated into wider shallow marine projects for the mapping of archaeological sites in similar environmental regimes. View Full-Text
Keywords: underwater geophysics; shallow marine; 3D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT); archaeological prospection underwater geophysics; shallow marine; 3D electrical resistivity tomography (ERT); archaeological prospection

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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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Simyrdanis, K.; Papadopoulos, N.; Cantoro, G. Shallow Off-Shore Archaeological Prospection with 3-D Electrical Resistivity Tomography: The Case of Olous (Modern Elounda), Greece. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 897.

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