Lev V. Eppelbaum1 and Boris E. Khesin2

1Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel
2Department of Environmental and Geological Sciences, Ben Gurion University, P.O.B. 653, Be'er-Sheva, Israel



Geophysical investigations (magnetic, resistivity and self-potential methods, ground penetration radar, very low frequency method and some others) are widely used for the investigation of archaeological remains in the world. The territory of Israel, in spite of comparatively small dimensions, is very attractive for archaeologists taking into account its dramatic ancient and Biblical history. According to a rough estimation of some Israeli archaeologists, the total number of archaeological sites on Israeli territory may reach 20,000 (including undiscovered sites). Geophysical methods are successfully applied to archaeology, as there are rapid, effective and non-invasive tool for revealing a broad range of various targets: buried walls, columns, foundations, water pipe systems and high temperature features (kilns, furnaces, ovens). Geophysical surveys provide a ground plan of cultural remains before excavations or may be even used instead of excavations. Generally speaking, all road and plant construction, selection of areas for various engineering and agricultural aims should be accompanied by detailed geophysical (first of all, magnetic) investigations. Such investigations should help estimate the possible archaeological significance of the area under study. Rapid (first results may be obtained during a few hours - several days) and reliable interpretation of geophysical data provide protection of archaeological remains from unpremeditated destruction.

The most significant disturbing factors by interpretation of geophysical anomalies are oblique polarization, complex geological structure (presence of a variety of anomalous bodies) of investigated site, disturbing effect of rugged topography as well as influence of modern iron-containing objects. The nonconventional procedures developed by the authors are intended for application in such complicated environments and include elimination of noise from various sources, selection of "useful" anomalies against the noise background, qualitative and quantitative interpretation of anomalies and 2.5D and 3-D physical-geological modeling (see list of References). Effective integration of these procedures with other interpretation methods allowed to localize rapidly tens of archaeological remains and protect them from unpremeditated destruction.

Unfortunately, these investigations are performing only on an enthusiasm of the authors of the report, field investigator Ph.D. student S. Itkis (Ben Gurion University) and some volunteers. Our poor geophysical equipment is wearied out and its replacement is necessary. Additionally, by many reasons we have not a possibility to cooperate in time with all archaeological organizations, which often invite the low-qualified executors. In Israel, contrary to the usual practice of the developed countries with a rich archaeological heritage, did not create the special geophysical service for providing such investigations. Such an Inter-University Center supplied by the modern geophysical equipment and not large budget may perform and control all geophysical investigations at Israeli (partially, it is possible, in surrounding regions) archaeological sites.



Berkovitch, A.L., Eppelbaum, L.V. and Basson, U., 2000. Application of the multifocusing seismic processing to the GPR data analysis. Sel. Papers presented at the Ann. SAGEEP Confer., 597-606.

Eppelbaum, L.V., 1999. Quantitative interpretation of resistivity anomalies using advanced methods developed in magnetic prospecting. Trans. of XXIV General Assembly of the European Geoph. Society. Strasbourg, France, 1, No. 1, p.166.

Eppelbaum, L.V., 2000. Anomalies of geophysical fields due to archaeological objects and their interpretation. Geoinformatics, 11, No. 1 19-28.

Eppelbaum, L.V., 2000. Detailed geophysical investigations at archaeological sites, In: (Ed. A. Nissenbaum), Relation between archaeology and other scientific disciplines, Collection of Papers, Weitzman Inst., 8, 39-54 (in Hebrew).

Eppelbaum, L. and Itkis, S.E., 1999. Magnetic investigation in the Tel Megiddo sites: qualitative and quantitative interpretation, In: Ed. Y. Finkelstein, Collection of Papers "Investigation of the Tel Megiddo sites", 504-514.

Eppelbaum, L.V. and Itkis, S.E., 2000. Advanced interpretation of magnetic data at the Nahal-Zehora site, In: Ed. A. Gopher, "The Nahal-Zehora sites - Pottery Neolithic Villages in the Menashe Hills", Monogr. Ser. No. 19, Inst. of Archaeol., Tel Aviv University.

Eppelbaum, L.V., Itkis, S.E. and Gopher, A., 2000. Development of the initial physico-archaeological model of the Nahal-Zehora site (Central Israel) using modern magnetic data interpretation. Sel. Papers presented at the Ann. SAGEEP Confer., USA, 379-388.

Eppelbaum, L.V., Itkis, S. and Khesin, B.E., 1995. Modern interpretation and 3-D modeling of magnetic field by archaeological investigation. Trans. of the Conf. of Israel Geol. Society. Ann. Meet. Zikharon Yakov, Israel, p.25.

Eppelbaum, L.V., Itkis, S.E. and Khesin, B.E., 2000. Optimization of magnetic investigations in the archaeological sites in Israel, In: Special issue of Prosperz. Archeol. "Filtering, Modeling and Interpretation of Geophysical Fields at Archaeological Objects", 65-92.

Eppelbaum, L.V., Itkis, S.E. and Petrov, A.V., 2000. Physics and archaeology: magnetic field as a reliable tool for searching ancient remains in Israel. Scientific Israel, No.2, 68-78.

Eppelbaum, L.V. and Khesin, B.E., 1992. VLF-method: elimination of noises and quantitative interpretation. Collection of papers. Regional Symp. on Electromagnetic Compatibility - "From a Unified Region to a Unified World", Section "LF to ULF Electromagnetics and the Earth", 5.2.1, Tel Aviv, 1-6.

Eppelbaum, L.V., Khesin, B.E. and Itkis, S.E. Prompt magnetic investigations of archaeological remains in areas of infrastructure development: Israeli experience. Journal of Archaeological Prospection (accepted).

Eppelbaum, L., Khesin B., Ginzburg A., Ben-Avraham, Z., 1992. Quantitative interpretation of magnetic anomalies and preliminary 3-D modeling of gravity and magnetic fields. Trans. of the Conf. of Israel Geol. Society, Ann. Meet. Ashqelon, Israel, p.35.

Eppelbaum, L.V. and Mishne, A.R., 1995. High-precision magnetic survey: elimination of secondary time variations. Trans. of the Conf. of the Geol. Society of America. Rocky Mountain, USA, 27, No.4.

Itkis, S.E. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1999. First results of magnetic prospecting application at the Prehistoric sites of Israel. Journal of the Prehistoric Society of Israel, 28, 177-187.

Khesin, B.E., Alexeyev, V.V. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1993. 3-D modeling of gravity and magnetic fields as a final stage of application of effective interpretation system of geophysical data under difficult geological conditions. Selected Papers presented at the 29th International Geological Congress (Kyoto, 1992). Geoinformatics, 4, No.3, 177-188.

Khesin, B.E., Alexeyev V.V. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1996. Interpretation of Geophysical Fields in Complicated Environments, Ser.: Modern Approaches in Geophysics. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht / London / Boston.

Khesin, B.E., Alexeyev, V.V. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1997. Rapid methods for interpretation of induced polarization anomalies. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 37, No.2, 117-130.

Khesin, B.E. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1994. Near-surface thermal prospecting: Review of processing and interpretation. Geophysics, 59, No.5, 744-752.

Khesin, B.E. and Eppelbaum, L.V., 1997. The number of geophysical methods required for target classification: quantitative estimation. Geoinformatics, 7, No.1, 31-39.