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Archaeology's Geophysical Survey Revolution: Rediscovering Ancient Earthworks in the Ohio Valley

Thursday, February 19, 2015
12:00 AM
Room 2009, Ruthven Museums Building

Though not new to archaeology, geophysical survey techniques such as magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar are revolutionizing the study of the past in our very own backyards. This revolution, which began in the 1990s, is being fueled by increases in computing power and data storage capacities, as well as a sharp increase in the number of instruments in use in the region. My own story is a good case in point about the power of geophysics for archaeologists. I am trained in traditional dirt archaeology, like shovel testing and test pitting, but over the last 15 years I have focused heavily on making geophysics work in academic research and cultural resource management. In this presentation I explore geophysical data collected at some of Ohio’s most iconic ancient earthwork sites. From erased coils at Serpent Mound to giant woodhenges at Hopewell Mound Group and mysterious pits filled with bright red, burned soil at Fort Ancient, the list of curious and intriguing finds thanks to geophysical surveys has launched a new age of archaeological discovery in Ohio.

Dr. Jarrod Burks, Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc.