Potential of cone penetrating testing for mapping deeply buried palaeolandscapes in the context of archaeological surveys in polder areas
Missiaen, T.; Verhegge, J.; Heirman, K.; Crombé, P. (2015). Potential of cone penetrating testing for mapping deeply buried palaeolandscapes in the context of archaeological surveys in polder areas. J. Archaeol. Sci. 55: 174-187. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jas.2015.01.003
Geoarchaeological mapping of wetlands conventionally involves extensive coring. Especially in wetlands marked by a deep palaeosurface (>3 m deep) this can be very difficult and time-consuming. In this paper we therefore present an alternative approach based on Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) for structured, rapid and cost-effective evaluation of buried palaeolandscapes. Both estuarine and river floodplain environments were investigated, including the water–land transition zone (marsh). The efficiency, reliability and repeatability of the CPT method was tested through the comparison with ground-truth core data. The CPT data generally allowed highly accurate mapping of the palaeotopography of the prehistoric surfaces and the overlying peat sequences. Thin organic-rich clay intercalations within the peat layers could often still be identified. Additional pore pressure, conductivity and seismic velocity data (from CPT-U, CPT-C and S-CPT) did not add much crucial information and their main use seems to lie in the added value for near surface geophysical measurements. The results of this research clearly illustrate the importance of CPT information for mapping of palaeolandscapes in archaeology.
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