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Exploring the paleolithic cave of Fumane (Italy): Geophysical methods as planning tool for archaeology

By N. Abu-zeid, S Bignardi, G .Santarato and M Peresani


Geophysical techniques are seldom used for the investigation of paleolithic archeological sites, mostly due to their sedimentary nature and the almost complete absence of architectural remains that can result in clear geophysical anomalies. The Fumane cave (Italy) is considered one of the most important sites in Europe. Recent investigations and studies carried out by the archaeological group of the Dep. Of Humanities (University of Ferrara) with the enrollment of the Department of Engineering of the same University allowed for the reconstruction of the 3D model of the Fumane Cave. This offered an opportunity for the applied geophysics group of the same university to assess the capability of Electrical Resistivity Tomography to retrieve subsurface information of archaeological interest. As primary goals, the study aimed at the creation of a three-dimensional resistivity model of the subsurface, to infer the nature of the sedimentary infill, so enabling a better understanding of the depositional processes involved in the formation of this important archaeological deposit and at the same time, for planning long-term field-investigations and to locate areas interesting for excavation. Moreover a Ground penetrating radar and a Nakamura survey were attempted in an integrate approach to test whether the combined methodologies could provide further insight about the subsurface. With respect to previous work, we present new and improved results both on ERT, GPR and HVSR. In particular, the HVSR test was accomplished to gain information about the maximum thickness of the deposit and to see if other impedance contrast discontinuities are present as was anticipated by previous archaeological studies

Topics: Archaeo-geophysics, HVSR, 3D ERT, Paleolithic age, Fumane Cave
Publisher: Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1190/segam2017-17729320.1
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