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).

Current Call for Applications

Recognising the challenges in undertaking archaeological prospection projects even after the Coovid-19 pandemic, the ISAP Management Committee have decided to focus support from the ISAP Fund through an Open Call for small and responsive applications that can be undertaken as restrictions are being lifted in various countries. For example, to complete a project that needs just some more work, hire equipment for a few days, licensing data, paying for editorial services etc. The evaluation of the applications will of course take still existing restrictions in your country into account (e.g. difficulties in involving the wider community, site access).

The total available grant budget for this year is £3000 which will be distributed through a single, extended call for Open Grants that will close on 1st November 2022.

Applications will be assessed and selected for funding on a rolling basis until the budget is exhausted. The census date for the first evaluation is 1st July 2022 and subsequent census dates will be the first day of each month until the closing date of 1st November 2022, or until all funds allocated to this funding period have been awarded. All applications received between census dates will be evaluated at the subsequent census date.

The maximum value which can be awarded for an individual application is £750 (this is an upper limit, not a target). Funding will be awarded according to the evaluation score determined at the respective census date (see the assessment form below ); applications must achieve a score better than 1 in all individual categories, and the average score must be at least 3.1 (out of 5.0).

Please download and read the relevant documents and forms below before making an application. It is essential that you adhere to all aspects of the General Principles (e.g. the financial setup, and especially the necessity to report on, and complete your Work independently of any related larger project). Open Grants shall not include the detailed project description (section "Description of Project") that Major Grants would require.

Please submit your completed application to

Relevant Documents and Forms

These documents and forms supersede all previous versions. Please only use these newest documents.

Awards Made

Closing Date November 2021

Award 1

Integrated geophysical investigations to prove the newly discovered Late Roman site in Barbaricum (£688)

by Kseniia Bondar and Oleg Petrauskas

The project deals with geophysical prospecting of newly discovered archaeological site named Buzovytsia I situated near the village of Buzovytsia, Chernivtsi region, Ukraine, and preliminary attributed to Chernyakhiv-Sântana de Mureş archaeological culture. During surface survey in October 2020 remains of plinth buildings were found in an unusually high topography. The plinth has direct analogies in the Roman constructions like a hypocaust that testifies to a probable location here of the Roman settlement distant from Limes more than 300 km. No excavation has been performed there yet. A suite of different geophysical techniques will be applied in order to target precisely archaeological excavations, which will help to make final decision on further investigation, conservation and protection of the site. We plan to make high-resolution magnetometry survey on the large area, as well as electrical resistivity tomography and ground penetrating radar investigations within selected plots of the most interest. Magnetic map, as well as GPR depth slices and 3D representations and ERT 2D and 3D geoelectrical models will be used to resolve the hidden structure of the site.

Award 2

A comparison of the capability of contemporary remote sensing and geophysical techniques in alluvial environments (£750)

by Nicholas Crabb and Chris Carey

The deposition of alluvial sediments within river floodplains can bury, conceal, and preserve significant archaeological deposits. These sediments are often thick (>1m), preventing the detection of archaeological remains using common prospection techniques, such as shallow geophysical survey (e.g. gradiometer) and aerial photography. Despite this, it is possible to determine zones of archaeological/palaeoenvironmental potential through deposit modelling; the recording of sub-surface sediments and stratigraphy, to identify geomorphological variation. This is normally achieved through intrusive investigations, but ongoing research conducted as part of the PI’s PhD has shown that remotely sensed data can be used to analyse alluvial landform assemblages and relate surface variations to sub-surface sediment architectures.

Research so far has deployed a range of remotely sensed datasets (including airborne LiDAR, SAR, and satellite and UAS mounted multi/hyperspectral imaging) at a case study site in Herefordshire, UK. This has been compared with point-specific boreholes, but to further interrogate these datasets, subsurface methods, comprising both shallow (gradiometer) and deeper (EMI) geophysical techniques, are required. This will improve the definition of large scale variation in sub-surface sediments and also allow for the detection of potential archaeological features located on specific geomorphological units, e.g. upstanding (shallow-buried) gravel terraces.  The geophysical investigation will therefore provide an independent assessment of the capability of remote sensing methods to model complex alluvial environments for archaeological prospection.

Award 3

Application of the high-resolution GPR survey of the Sandomierz old-town aimed to identify medieval urban planning (£711)

by Robert Ryndziewicz

The aim of the project is to identify the archaeological structures of the medieval city of Sandomierz (historical Lesser Poland) with particular emphasis on the history of destruction during the Tatar invasions in 1241 and 1259 and the re-location of the city in 1286. Using the GPR method (a single-channel system with a 450MHz antenna) is planned to investigate the main square and the streets that depart from it, as well as the available plots of land in the southern part of the Old Town Hill and the St. Jacob’s Hill located west of the Old Town. Precise positioning of data using total-station and RTK-GPS will be of key importance due to challenging urban conditions. Due to the complexity of the stratigraphy, data interpretation will be possible after integrating with the archival excavation data, which will give them a new perspective and the possibility of reinterpretation. Non-invasive data will also be important for the protection of the archaeological heritage.

The project will refer to the project "Non - invasive methods for the identification of multistratified medieval urban structures" carried out in 2017-2019 as a part of cooperation of Polish Academy of Sciences and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.

Award 4

It is dark in the woods … (£750)

by Armin Schmidt and Werner Weber

The village of Eisenach (Eifel, Germany) has a varied settlement history going back to the Neolithic. Being located along a major transit route between Trier and Cologne and with rich bog-ore deposits it became an established settlement area during Iron Age and Roman times. Today, the area is farmed intensively and has become popular with metal detectorists; two factors that led to the gradual loss of ancient remains. It is only in a wooded area at the fringes of the village that some features remain largely undisturbed. Considering the increasing climatic stress to the woods and the continuing exploitation through unlicensed detectorists, the detailed recording of these areas is important. The local heritage group (see Co-I) will use the results from archaeological prospection to raise awareness with regional authorities about the rich archaeological record and the need for protection. Data will also be included on new signboards along a hiking trail to familiarise the wider public with the region’s history (separate funding).

The challenges of magnetometer surveys in wooded areas (no GPS, difficult to walk) will require the test of different data acquisition protocols and the results will help other ISAP members with similar projects.

Closing Date July 2020

Award 1

A Confined Anomaly in the ‘Cholera Field’: Characterising Urban Mass Graves of 19th Century Cholera Epidemic victims (£1220)

by James Bonsall and Fióna Gallagher

The assessment of mass graves via geophysical methods often occurs within large, open fields or forested areas. Less frequently investigated are mass graves within a challenging urban location - impacted by modern construction activity, ferrous-rich locales and electromagnetic (EM) interference. This interdisciplinary project seeks to characterize the survival and morphology of unmarked mass pits from a 19th century burial ground, known as ‘the Cholera Field’, on the estate of Sligo University Hospital (SUH). Sligo was the worst affected provincial town during the 1832 Irish cholera epidemic. The epidemic was an overwhelmingly urban phenomena entirely attributable to the poor sanitary conditions of the time, which necessitated the rapid burial of infected corpses immediately behind the Sligo Fever Hospital. Up to 500 people were unceremoniously interred in mass pits. This once semi-rural burial ground has been gradually destroyed by the modern hospital which covers approximately two-thirds of the Cholera Field. Today the site is a small slither of land within an urban setting, defined on its edges by a (modern) scarped cliff-edge, nurses’ accommodation, ambulance station, a car park and a road. A geophysical survey to characterise the surviving burial ground, will assess the nature and depth of remaining burials.

Award 2

Geophysical Investigation of Owain Glydwr’s Mount and Moated Site, Glyndyfrdwy, Wales (£1500)

by Brian Whiting and David Nash

We have obtained Section 42(2) consent from CADW to undertake a geophysical survey at the historically significant and scheduled (CADW ME017) site of Owain Glyndwr’s Mount, Glyndyfrdwy, Wales. This site consists of two main elements, a motte and a rectilinear moated feature, the latter referred to as Owain Glyndwr’s Lodge, and is associated with seminal events in Glyndwr’s revolt against the English. There is no indication that the site has been excavated. An earlier reconnaissance geophysical survey was conducted in 2009; this yielded potential archaeological features near the moated area but the motte was not surveyed and no depth information was obtained anywhere. The objectives of this survey are to obtain detailed high-resolution geophysical data that can add depth information and detail to the 2009 results. We will undertake a two-method programme starting with a multi-depth EM conductivity survey, which will identify specific target areas for a subsequent dual-frequency GPR survey. Extensive 2D and 3D processing and integration of survey data will be performed using GPR Slice, 3D GIS software, and gridding/filtering software for EM conductivity data. Processing will result in depth-slice, 3D, cross-sectional and material-properties information that will support a comprehensive geophysical and historical interpretation of the site.

Closing Date May 2020

Reconstruction of the plan of the nickel mine in Szklary (Poland) (£750)

by Mikołaj Zawadzki and Helena Ciechowska

The nickel mine in Szklary in Poland was established at the end of the 19th century. Initially, it was operated as a deep mine. In the 1920’s it was transformed into an opencast mine. In the 90’s, due to unprofitability, mining was closed. The Club of Geophysics at the University of Warsaw in 2019 created a research project whose goal is to recreate the plan of the mine in Szklary as much as possible. In 2019, in the area of the former mine, Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) measurements were carried out using an electrode spacing every 5 meters. That method indicated places at depths of several dozen meters, where there may be voids, which may indicate that there are mine corridors. The data obtained from the ERT method were correlated with the plan of the Robert Adit from 1913, which allowed to assess which elements of the mine could be located by the ERT. In the future, it is planned to perform further tests using the ERT method, as well as using other geophysical methods such as seismics, gravimetry or magnetometry. These studies may indicate which geophysical methods for testing extensive objects deep underground may be useful.

Closing Date March 2019

Surveying the Saxon Shore: Ground-Penetrating Radar at Pevensey Roman Fortress and CastleSurveying the Saxon Shore: Ground-Penetrating Radar at Pevensey Roman Fortress and Castle (£1000).

by Scott Chaussée and Anna Chaussée

The funded work is part of a new programme of geophysical survey within the walled area of Pevensey Castle (NGR TQ 6445 0480; Scheduled Monument ID 1013379). The survey work will be initiated with the aim of producing an additional geophysical dataset to facilitate a clearer understanding of the archaeological development and use of the site over the past 1700 years. The radar survey will be conducted in the outer bailey as well as the castle keep. The first outcome of the funded work will be an answer to the internal arrangement of buildings associated with the Roman fort. The second outcome will be the elucidation of structures or features that relate to the subsequent use of the site in the Anglo-Saxon period, hinted at by material recovered from frustratingly (though understandably) limited excavations conducted over the past 150+ years. The major outcome of the funded work is engagement with local schools and heritage groups as a means to communicate the strengths of archaeological prospection for understanding sites. Links will be made between how communities engaged with the site in antiquity and how they do so now, culminating the generation of a sense of place.

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.

Completed - see ISAPNews 59.

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.

Completed - see ISAPNews 55.

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.

Completed - see ISAPNews 57.

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.