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A surface-resistivity survey using a FlashRES resistivity meter and 4m electrode spacing was used to reaffirm the location of a number of underground tombs. The inversion image results matched the site investigation,except for the void between the 8th and 14th electrodes. Further investigation by an archaeological team concluded that a tomb existed beneath this area that was missed by the initial archaeological survey. The survey proved that the FlashRES resistivity meter adds value to archaeological explorations.

Dr Ian Moffat from the Department of Archaeology at Flinders University has been using Meadows' Wesleyan Cemetery in the Adelaide to undertake research and teaching since 2009, with a particular focus on locating the unmarked graves and former chapels using geophysical equipment. In 2013, students used the FlashRES-UNIVERSAL with a 0.5m electrode spacing to trial the effectiveness of resistivity profiling to locate unmarked graves on this site.

resistivity archaeology survey 1

Archaeological exploration

The results from this survey were outstanding, with a number of unmarked graves being located by the presence of conductive anomalies, (as shown in the figure below) which were validated by ground penetrating radar. The foundations of one of the former chapels were also located by the presence of a large conductive anomaly. The conductive nature of these anomalies (which have been validated by an electromagnetic induction survey) are thought to be related to the transport of the conductive clays in the upper soil profile to the deeper subsurface, while the preferential ponding of ground water in these areas is due to the increased soil porosity caused by the refilling of these excavations. Despite having no previous geophysical experience, the students were able to easily operate the FlashRES-UNIVERSAL with minimal supervision. Furthermore, the 61-channel capability of the instrument allowed the survey to be completed very quickly, despite collecting a number of different of arrays simultaneously. 

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