Geophysics applied to cultural heritage

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course focuses on the application of geophysical methods for the non-invasive exploration and characterization of the near-surface terrains and man-made structures. The mail goal of the course is to provide students with fundamental concepts about geophysical prospection for archaeological purposes and for the conservation and diagnosis of cultural heritage.
The course consists of three parts: 1) introduction to applied geophysics and geophysical imaging, definition of geophysical anomaly and background, significance of geological, geomorphological and architectonic context, description of the physical scales of application, resolution and density of the information achievable from geophysical exploration; 2) definition of the physical properties of natural materials (electrical conductivity, dielectric constant, magnetic susceptibility, density) and geological properties of soils and stone materials (texture, structure, porosity, fracturing), with emphasis on the relationships vs. water soil / materials; 3) introduction to geophysical prospecting methods for archeology and for the conservation and diagnosis of cultural heritage.
The presentation of geophysical methods provides brief outline of physical theory, the description of the field prospecting methods and data-processing and the critical discussion of numerous application examples in real cases. In particular, it will be discussed the geoelectrical prospecting DC 1-D (VES), 2-D (ERI), 3-D and 4-D, Frequency domain electromagnetic method (FDEM), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), magnetic prospecting and gradiometry, microgravimetry, outline of active seismic prospection.
Expected learning outcomes
· knowledge of the main geophysical prospecting methods in archeology and for the conservation and diagnosis of cultural heritage;
· definition of the potential of the different methods in relation to the specific context of application; evaluation of expected results and related uncertainties;
· introduction to the design of geophysical data acquisition in relation to specific objectives, site-specific conditions and comparative assessment of costs and benefits;
· outline of the interpretation of geophysical data and management of information content, with particular reference to the definition of the independent data set needed to interpret the results.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
GEO/11 - APPLIED GEOPHYSICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Mele Mauro