site prospection and geophysical surveys

Archaeological constraints of development projects

From the 1990s, public infrastructure development projects and consequent private investments (construction of shopping centres, logistics and industrial establishments, residential communities) created an unprecedented need for archaeological and architectural heritage protection and preservation work.

In accordance with the law, the disturbance cost of buried archaeological heritage is to be borne by the polluter - i.e. the public or private developer. In some cases, archaeological investigations can be anticipated before the purchase or expropriation of the land, but to date, only a small fraction of the country has been systematically explored. Because of that the vast majority of heritage assets of archaeological interest is not designated and the developer face the necessity of archaeological work after its planning application has been submitted.
The lack of information in this case leads not only to increased project cost but extends the construction deadline. As a consequence, it puts the company business plan in jeopardy and the public investors in a difficult situation with regard to the strict accountability rules of EU funds.

How to minimize these risks?

Today we have effective site technical means used in reconnaissance besides the traditional walking survey. The results are detailed in an impact assessment based on which our clients can estimate the time and the budget of the archaeological work or, where possible, decide to avoid the area.

Geophysical surveys

Magnetometer survey is one of the best geophysical techniques for detecting sub-surface features and structures. The method is based on the empirical evidence that magnetization degree of the backfilling of features (such as house traces, pits or diggings) is different of that of surrounding soil which allows relatively easy definition of the existence and boundaries of archaeological sites. The advantage of using magnetometer is that it is a non-invasive technique, in other word, no physical intervention is required to conduct this survey. This time-efficient method provides reliable results on even vast areas while its cost does not exceed one part per hundred of the total excavation budget.
Ground penetrating radar is used for detection being performed in towns where cables or pipelines are expected and mainly for built heritage exploration.
More (mint link)

Archaeological impact assessment based on field-walk and preliminary archaeological diagnostics

Besides sensing instrument-based prospection methods, we suggest our clients to ask for archaeological impact assessment and preliminary diagnostics study as part of development proposals and urban planning. For this, our staff consults all known historical and archival sources relating to the area under consideration, we conduct a ground surface investigation with GPS and create a map with the data collected. The map showing the localization of expected archaeological sites is set up based on information requested from national register of sites and repository of institutional bodies territorially competent. It will serve as a basis for the time and cost required for the archaeological work.

Aerial reconnaissance

For a long time we have been using aerial photography for site prospection. Aerial photos are suitable to explore archaeological traces or identify certain features - such as mounds, ditches, wall structures or sometimes graves. Along with prospection, they can give overall look on ongoing excavations or spectacular visualization of interrelationships between features.

Comments are closed