Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 173, Issue 3, pp 963–982 | Cite as

Integrated GPR and ERT as Enhanced Detection for Subsurface Historical Structures Inside Babylonian Houses Site, Uruk City, Southern Iraq

  • Emad H. Al-Khersan
  • Jassim M. T. Al-Ani
  • Salah N. Abrahem


Uruk archaeological site, which located in Al-Muthanna Governorate southern Iraq, was investigated by integrated geophysical methods, ground penetration radar (GPR) and electric resistivity tomography (ERT) to image the historical buried structures. The GPR images show large radar attributes characterized by its continuous reflections having different widths. GPR attributes at shallower depth are mainly representing the upper part of Babylonian Houses that can often be found throughout the study area. In addition, radargrams characterized objects such as buried items, buried trenches and pits which were mainly concentrated near the surface. The ERT results show the presence of several anomalies at different depths generally having low resistivities. It is clear that the first upper zone can be found throughout the whole area and it may represent the top zone of the Babylonian houses. This zone is characterized by its dry clay and sandy soil containing surface broken bricks and slag mixed with core boulders. The second one underneath the top shows a prominent lower resistivity zone. It is probably caused by the moisture content that reduces the resistivity. The thickness of this zone is not equal at all parts of the site. The third deeper zone typically represents the archaeological walls. Most of the main anomalies perhaps referred to the buried clay brick walls. The map of the archaeological anomalies distribution and 3D view of the foundations at the study area using GPR and ERT techniques clearly show the characteristics of the Babylonian remains. A contour map and 3D view of Uruk show that the archaeological anomalies are concentrated mainly at the NE part of the district with higher values of wall height that range between 6 and 8 m and reach to more than 10 m. At the other directions, there are fewer walls with lower heights of 4–6 m and reach in some places the wall foot.


Uruk Al-Muthanna GPR and 2D-imaging Babylon remains Emad Al-Khersan Gilgamesh 



The authors are highly grateful to Dr. Firas H. Al-Menshed and Dr. Ahmed S. Al-Zubedi for their sincere assistance in the field works. Thanks also extend to Dr. Ali Z. Al-Khashan for reading the manuscript of the present research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emad H. Al-Khersan
    • 1
  • Jassim M. T. Al-Ani
    • 2
  • Salah N. Abrahem
    • 3
  1. 1.Geology Department, College of ScienceBasrah UniversityBasrahIraq
  2. 2.Geology Department, College of ScienceUniversity of BaghdadBaghdadIraq
  3. 3.Physics Department, College of ScienceUniversity of Al-MuthannaAl-MuthanaIraq

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