The Effectiveness of Large-Scale, High-Resolution Ground-Penetrating Radar Surveys and Trial Trenching for Archaeological Site Evaluations—A Comparative Study from Two Sites in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The use of large-scale, high-resolution ground-penetrating radar surveys has increasingly become a part of Norwegian cultural heritage management as a complementary method to trial trenching surveys to detect and delineate archaeological sites. The aim of this article is to collect, interpret and compare large-scale, high-resolution ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey data with results from trial trenching and subsequent large-scale excavations, and to extract descriptive and spatial statistics on detection rates and precision for both evaluation methods. This, in turn, is used to assess the advantages and disadvantages of both conventional, intrusive methods and large-scale GPR surveys. Neither method proved to be flawless, and while the trial trenching had a better overall detection rate, organic and charcoal rich features were nearly just as easily detected by both methods. Similarly, the spatial representability was similar, even though the total detection rates were lower with the GPR. This can be used as an argument in advance of integrating full-coverage GPR results into a site evaluation scheme, preferably in combination with other methods. Overall, these analyses have highlighted drawbacks and possibilities in both methods that are important contributions in understanding how to use them and integrate them in future site evaluations.