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Ground Penetrating Radar Investigations in the Noble Hall of São Carlos Theater in Lisbon, Portugal


This paper describes a study conducted by the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering of Portugal (LNEC), in cooperation with the Defense University Center at the Spanish Naval Academy and “La Sapienza,” University of Rome, to assess the health and safety conditions of the Noble Hall floor in the São Carlos National Theater (Lisbon, Portugal). In a multidisciplinary approach, extensive fieldwork was carried out. The survey included the location and characterization of beams in the various areas of the floor by using two ground penetrating radar (GPR) systems equipped with two different ground- or air-coupled antennas, local inspection openings to visually assess the geometry, timber species and conservation state of structural members, and an assessment of the conservation state of the timber beam ends using drilling equipment. All the tests performed and the results obtained are presented. The potential of using non-destructive tests for the inspection of timber cultural heritage structures, particularly GPR, is discussed, and some practical recommendations are made.

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The authors would like to thank Prof. Rita Deiana, Prof. Raffaele Martorana and Dr. Giovanni Leucci for inviting them to extend the work presented in Fontul et al. (2017) and submit this paper. This work is a contribution to COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action TU1208 “Civil Engineering Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar.” The authors thank COST for funding and supporting the Action TU1208 and Professor Michael Rycroft for improving the English.

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Correspondence to S. Fontul.

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Fontul, S., Solla, M., Cruz, H. et al. Ground Penetrating Radar Investigations in the Noble Hall of São Carlos Theater in Lisbon, Portugal. Surv Geophys 39, 1125–1147 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9477-z

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  • Ground Penetrating Radar
  • Timber floor
  • Beam location
  • Cultural heritage management
  • Wood assessment