ISAP Fund

At the 2014 AGM in London ISAP established its ISAP Fund to provide ISAP members with funding to further the objectives of the Society (see the constitution).

Awards Made

Closing Date September 2018

Improving one way of investigating Australian rockshelters (£1000).

by Kelsey Lowe and Chris Clarkson

Recent findings of Australian human settlement at 65,000 years ago has created a need to expand the database of sites to demonstrate this findings reliability. However, early settlement sites (50-65,000 years old) are routinely challenged in archaeology on the basis that sites have been disturbed or that artefacts have moved throughout the profile due to the nature of the stratigraphy. Traditional archaeological methods are limited in their ability to evaluate stratigraphic units and human inputs. This project aims to test if geophysical applications can assist in evaluating earlier site stratigraphy and identify markers for human occupation using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic analyses on two early settlement rockshelters located in northern Australia. This proposal requests funding to complete the geophysical surveys and collection of augured sediment samples to resolve issues on the timing of first human occupation and stratigraphic interpretation at each site.

Closing Date November 2017

Looking for the invisible: a micro-geophysical investigation of a macro-geophysical feature (£1000).

by Kris Lockyear, Corinna Riva and Ellen Shlasko

In 2016, Drs Lockyear, Riva and Shlasko undertook a magnetic gradiometer survey at the Etruscan city of Vulci as part of Riva’s project investigating the Etruscan economy.  One of the very clear magnetic anomalies detected was a large rectangular feature 40m by 25m.  Subsequent GPR survey (by the BSR) and a machine excavated trench failed to detect any sign of the anomaly, either geophysically or visually.  The aim of this project is to (a) undertake Earth Resistance and magnetic susceptibility surveys over the whole anomaly and (b) to hand excavate a trench over one side of the anomaly taking detailed magnetic susceptibility and resistance readings at each 10cm spit (or stratigraphic unit) in order to see if the feature is otherwise detectable.  Small soil samples will also be taken for possible laboratory investigation. The aim is to both detect, explain, and hopefully interpret the magnetic anomaly.

Closing Date October 2016

Predicting the effect of soil and moisture variations on the interpretive potential of FDEM survey (£1000)

by Philippe De Smedt and Samuël Delefortrie

Frequency domain electromagnetic (FDEM) measurements can be related to subsurface conductivities, which means these are influenced by subsurface moisture variations. While seasonal influences on soil electrical variations have been investigated in depth, such studies rarely focus on FDEM instrumentation. Furthermore, robust quantitative information on how moisture variations affect the discrimination potential of archaeological features in FDEM datasets are fully lacking.

The research we propose aims to bridge this gap through both an experimental and a theoretical approach. Starting from the physical characteristics of two test-sites, synthetic environments will be constructed in which different environmental conditions can be simulated to bear effect on the subsurface electromagnetic properties. Through these analyses we target a framework that allows evaluating the impact of seasonal variations on quadrature and in-phase FDEM responses, and enables predicting the interpretive potential of FDEM survey in varying environmental conditions.

Closing Date March 2016

Geophysical and Geomatic Investigations of the Anthropogenic Earth Mounds of the Murray River Valley, South Australia (£1000)

by Ian Moffat, Mick Morrison and Amy Roberts

Anthropogenic earth mounds are an important and understudied component of the Australian archaeological record. These features are ubiquitous in the Murray River Valley, and provide unique evidence about human intensification of occupation in the late Holocene. This project will trial the use of geophysical techniques to determine the stratigraphy and presence of anthropogenic burning within earth mounds at Calperum Station, South Australia. Aerial photogrammetry from a UAV will also be used to map the location and geometry of these features. This will be the first trial of the use of geophysics and geomatics on South Australian earth mound sites, with significant implications for understanding these important features. This project will also serve to popularise the use of geophysics within Australian archaeology.

Completed - see ISAPNews 54.

Closing Date September 2015

Reconstructing the Cultural Dynamics in Shallow Marine Environment through Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Photogrammetry (£1000).

by Nikos Papadopoulos, Kleanthis Simyrdanis and Gianluca Cantoro.

Abstract: Low altitude aerial imagery with Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (drones) and geophysical imaging techniques like Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) have been extensively used in mapping onshore buried antiquities in a non-destructive manner, thus contributing in study, mapping and  management of the cultural heritage. Despite the relative frequent employment of these research approaches in the recovery of archaeological relics in the land survey, the specific methods have minimal to non-existent employment for the  understanding of the past dynamics in littoral and shallow off-shore environments. This research will apply the above survey tools in a comprehensive and integrated way to investigate a part of the archaeological site of Olous, a now submerged Hellenistic to Byzantine aged city, located on the isthmus of Poros in north-eastern coast of Crete (Greece). The results from this innovative survey will be applicable to archaeological investigations in the littoral zone from similar regions of the world and time periods thus contributing to the best practice of shallow maritime archaeology.

Completed - see ISAPNews 47.