Acquisition of Geophysical Survey Equipment and Computer Processing Support for Archaeology

Grants and Contracts Details


Project Summary With the support of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant, the University of Kentucky Museum of Anthropology will acquire geophysical survey equipment and create a computer laboratory to process geophysical data for archaeological and geoarchaeological research. The proposed Archaeological Geophysics Laboratory will be a collaborative effort among faculty and staff in the departments of Anthropology and Geography, combining expertise in the fields of archaeology, geography, and geology. Geophysical and remote sensing technologies are important cost-effective research tools that allow investigators to identify archaeological sites, map cultural landscape features, and explore subsurface deposits and features using noninvasive techniques. Analysis of these data can lead to new insights into settlement patterns, community organization, and prehistoric and historic lifeways. The Co-Principal Investigators propose to acquire three new geophysical instruments - a resistivity survey system, a magnetic survey system, and a ground penetrating radar unit - which will complement existing Museum equipment, and acquire a high-performance computer work station and software that will be dedicated to processing the data and image intensive geophysical applications. A major acquisition of new instrumentation, a computer workstation, and software will allow UK to take a leading role in applying geophysical techniques to archaeological and geoarchaeological research, develop expertise for differential application of the various techniques, and provide training and opportunity for students to incorporate this technology into their research. With a fully equipped laboratory, the Department of Anthropology will offer a new graduate course in its Archaeological Data Analysis series (Ant 65 I) on Archaeological Geophysics and Remote Sensing, and geophysical survey will be integrated into the department's annual archaeological field school (Ant 585). In addition, students employed with the archaeology research units will have opportunities to apply these technologies in real world situations. Training of graduate and undergraduate student in these technologies will provide them with skills necessary to successfully compete in the job market as these technologies become routine in field research programs. The new instrumentation will immediately benefit several on-going or proposed research projects of the Co-Principal Investigators and their students. Current research includes investigation of prehistoric shell midden sites in the Green River region of central Kentucky; coastal shell midden sites and an early Spanish Mission site on Sapelo Island, Georgia; community structure of late prehistoric Fort Ancient sites in the Blue Grass and Eastern Mountains of Kentucky; identification of fortifications, prison foundations, and cemetery areas at Camp Nelson Civil War Park, Kentucky; and research at the Olmec site ofTres Zapotes, Veracruz, Mexico. Other projects that plan to use geophysical survey in field research include investigation of Late Prehistoric/Late Woodland occupation in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia; investigation of pueblo occupation in Grand Canyon National Park; identification of buried shell midden sites in the Falls ofthe Ohio River region oflndiana and Kentucky; investigation of prehistoric settlement patterning and landscape evolution in the Central Kentucky Karst; identification of buried saltpeter works at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky; and survey of West Virginia frontier forts.
Effective start/end date9/1/068/31/07


  • National Science Foundation: $93,693.00


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