• Dean Goodman
  • Salvatore Piro
Part of the Geotechnologies and the Environment book series (GEOTECH, volume 9)


Initially when ground penetrating radar was applied to archaeological problems beginning in the mid 1970s (Bevan and Kenyon 1975; Bevan 1977; Vickers and Dolphin 1975), there quickly developed great expectations that the ultimate tool to alleviate the need for excavation had been invented and archaeologists would no longer need to dirty their nails! For years many embraced these myths about GPR and “blindly” began applying this new technology without understanding its essential capabilities and limitations. The archaeologist’s early beliefs were that GPR was equivalent to an X-ray of the ground. Some of these myths were and still are perpetuated today. Hollywood films showing fake GPR equipment yielding the ultimate 3D image of dinosaurs skeletons generated from a single pass of radar – looking even clearer than the best MRI imaging that could be achieved at a top notch hospital – helps to keep the false capabilities of GPR alive.


Time Slice Overlay Analysis Ground Wave Single Channel System Hollywood Film 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Annan P (2009) Electromagnetic principles of ground penetrating radar. In: Jol HM (ed) Ground penetrating radar: theory and applications. Elsevier, pp 1–40, ISBN 978-0-444-53348-7Google Scholar
  2. Bernabini M, Pettinelli E, Pierdicca N, Piro S, Versino L (1992) Field experiments for characterization of GPR antenna and pulse propagation. J Appl Geophys, special issue on GPR 33(1995):63–76Google Scholar
  3. Bevan BW, Kenyon J (1975) Ground penetrating radar for historical archaeology. MASCA Newslett 11(2):2–7Google Scholar
  4. Burks J, Cook RA (2011) Beyond Squirer and Davis: rediscovering Ohio’s earthworks using geophysical remote sensing. Am Antiquity 76(4):667–689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campana S, Piro S (2009) Seeing the unseen: geophysics and landscape archaeology. CRC Press, Netherlands. ISBN 978-0-415-44721-8Google Scholar
  6. Conyers LB, Ernenwein EG, Bedal LA (2002) Ground-penetrating radar discovery at Petra, Jordan. Antiquity 76:339–340Google Scholar
  7. Conyers LB, Goodman D (1997) Ground penetrating radar: an introduction for archaeologists. Alta Mira Press, Sage Publications, Walnut Creek, ISBN 0-7619-8927-7Google Scholar
  8. Conyers LB (2004) Ground penetrating radar for archaeology. Alta Mira Press/Sage, Walnut Creek, California. ISBN 0-7591-0773-4Google Scholar
  9. Conyers LB (2006) Ground-penetrating radar techniques to discover and map historic graves. Hist Archaeol 40:64–73Google Scholar
  10. Dalan RA, Bevan B, Goodman D, Lynch D, DeVore S, Admek S (2011) The measurement and analysis of depth in archaeological geophysics: test at the Biesterfeldt site, USA. Archaeol Prospect. doi:10.1002/arpGoogle Scholar
  11. Daniels DJ (2009) Antennas. In: Jol HM (ed) Ground penetrating radar theory and applications. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 99–136. ISBN 9780444533487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Doolittle JA, Collins ME (1995) Use of soil information to determine application of ground penetrating radar. J Appl Geophys 33:101–108Google Scholar
  13. Doolittle JA, Minzenmayer FE, Walman SW, Benham EC (2003) Ground penetrating radar soil suitability maps. Environ Eng Geophys J 8(2):49–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doolittle JA, Bellantoni NF (2010) The search for graves with ground-penetrating radar in Connecticut. J Archaeol Sci 37:941–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gaffney C, Gater J (2003) Revealing the buried past: geophysics for archaeologists. Tempus, Gloucestershire. ISBN 0-7524-2556-0Google Scholar
  16. Gaffney V, Patterson H, Piro S, Goodman D, Nishimura Y (2004) Multimethodological approach to study and characterise Forum Novum (Vescovio, Central Italy). Archaeol Prospect 11:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goodman D, Nishimura Y (1993) A ground-radar view of Japanese Burial Mounds. Antiquity 67:349–354Google Scholar
  18. Goodman D, Piro S, Nishimura Y, Patterson H, Gaffney V (2004) Discovery of a 1st century AD Roman amphitheater and other structures at the Forum Novum by GPR. J Environ Eng Geophys 9(1):35–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goodman D, Nishimura Y, Hongo H, Noriaki N (2006) Correcting for topography and the tilt of the GPR antenna. Archaeol Prospect 13:157–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goodman D, Piro S, Schneider K, Nishimura Y, Hongo H, Higashi N, Steinberg J, Damiata B (2009) GPR archaeometry. In: Jol H (ed) GPR theory and applications. Elsevier, pp 479–508. ISBN 978-0-444-53348-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grasmueck M, Weger R, Horstmeyer H (2005) Full-resolution 3D imaging. Geophysics 70(1): 12–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grasmueck M, Weger R, Horstmeyer H (2004) Three-dimensional ground-penetrating radar imaging of sedimentary structures, fractures, and archaeological features at submeter resolution. Geology 32(11):933–936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kvamme KL (2001) Current practices in archaeogeophysics: magnetics, resistivity, conductivity, and ground-penetrating radar. In: Goldberg P, Holliday VT, Ferring CR (eds) Earth sciences and archaeology. Kluwer Academic/Plenum, New York, pp 353–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kvamme KL (2006) Integrating multidimensional geophysical data. Archaeol Prospect 13(1):57–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leckebusch J (2003) Ground penetrating radar: a modern three-dimensional prospection method. Archaeol Prospect 10:213–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leckebusch J, Rychener J (2005) Three-dimensional comparison between GPR and excavation results. In: Proceedings of the 6th international conference on archaeological prospection, Rome, Italy, pp 223–226Google Scholar
  27. Leckebusch J (2011) Problems and solutions with GPR interpretation: depolarization and GPR data continuity. Archaeol Prospect 18(4):303–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Linford NT, Linford PK (2004) Short report, ground penetrating radar survey over a Roman building at Groudwell Ridge, Blunsdon St Andrew, Swindon, UK. Archaeol Prospect 11:49–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malagodi S, Orlando L, Piro S, Rosso F (1996a) Location of archaeological structures using GPR method: three-dimensional data acquisition and radar signal processing. Archaeol Prospect 3:13–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Malagodi S, Orlando L, Piro S (1996b) Approaches to increase resolution of radar signal. In: Proceedings of 6th international conference on ground penetrating radar. Tohoku University, Sendai, pp 283–288Google Scholar
  31. Neubauer W, Eder-Hinterleitner A, Seren S, Melichar P (2002) Georadar in the Roman civil town Carnuntum, Austria: an approach for archaeological interpretation of GPR data. Archaeol Prospect 9:135–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nishimura Y, Goodman D (2000) Ground penetrating radar survey at Wroxeter. Archaeol Prospect 7:101–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Novo A, Lorenzo H, Rial F, Pereira M, Solla M (2008) Ultra-dense grid strategies for 3D GPR in archaeology. In: Proceeding in the 12th international conference on ground penetrating radar, BirminghamGoogle Scholar
  34. Novo A, Sala R, García E, Tamba R, Muñoz F, Solla M, Lorenzo H (2009) From Celtiberians to Romans: combined geophysical (3D GPR and fluxgate gradiometer) prospection for the archaeological characterization of Castro de la Magdalena (Leon, Spain). In: ArchaeoSciences, Memoire de sol, espace de hommes, pp 121–124. ISBN 978-2-7535-0943-6Google Scholar
  35. Olhoeft GR (1996) Application of ground penetrating radar. In: Proceedings of the 6th international conference on ground penetrating radar, GPR’96, Sendai, pp 1–4, 30 Sept–3 Oct 1996Google Scholar
  36. Piro S, Goodman D, Nishimura Y (2003) The study and characterization of Emperor Traiano’s villa using high-resolution integrated geophysical surveys. Archaeol Prospect 10:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Seren S, Eder-Hinterleitner A, Neubauer W, Löcker K, Melichar P (2007) Extended comparison of different GPR systems and antenna configurations at the Roman site Carnuntum. Near Surf Geophys 5(6):389–394Google Scholar
  38. Trinks I, Johansson B, Gustafsson J, Emilsson J, Friborg J, Gustaffsson C, Nissen J, Hinterleitner A (2010) Efficient, large-scale archaeological prospection using true three-dimensional GPR array system. Archaeol Prospect 17:175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vaughan CJ (1986) Ground penetrating radar surveys used in archaeological investigations. Geophysics 51(3):595–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vickers RS, Dolphin LT (1975) A communication on an archaeological radar experiment at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. MASCA Newslett 11(1):6–8Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean Goodman
    • 1
  • Salvatore Piro
    • 2
  1. 1.Geophysical ArchaeometryLaboratory Inc.Woodland HillsUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Technologies, Applied to Cultural HeritageNational Research CouncilRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations