Surveys in Geophysics

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1201–1217 | Cite as

Geophysical Survey and Archaeological Data at Masseria Grasso (Benevento, Italy)

  • Enzo RizzoEmail author
  • Alfonso Santoriello
  • Luigi Capozzoli
  • Gregory De Martino
  • Cristiano Benedetto De Vita
  • Daniela Musmeci
  • Felice Perciante


The use of geophysical methods in metrology is a significant tool within the wide research topic of landscape archaeology context. Since 2011, the Ancient Appia Landscapes Project aims to recognize dynamics, shapes and layout of the ancient settlement located along the Appia road east of Benevento, and cyclical elements and human activities that influenced the choice of landscapes. The integration of geophysical data with an archaeological infra-site analysis allowed us to investigate the area of Masseria Grasso, about 6 km from Benevento (Campania region, Italy). In this framework, an archaeogeophysical approach (Geomagnetic and Ground Penetrating Radar) was adopted for detecting anomalies potentially correlated with buried archaeological evidences. The geomagnetic results have given a wide knowledge of buried features in a large survey highlighting significant anomalies associated with the presence of buildings, roads and open spaces. These geophysical results permitted us to define the first archaeological excavations and, successively, a detailed Ground Penetrating Radar approach has been provided highlighting the rooms and paved spaces. The overlap between archaeological dataset and geophysical surveys has also allowed recognizing the path of the ancient Appia road near the city of Benevento and hypothesize the settlement organization of the investigated area, which has been identified with the ancient Nuceriola.


Archaeogeophysics Geomagnetic GPR Ancient Appia road 



The authors and AAL project team ( thank the “Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Culturali” of the University of Salerno, the team of Laboratorio Modelli (director Salvatore Barba), Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, of the same University, the Centre Jean Bérard (USR 3133 CNRS - EFR) for their support for the archaeological research. Special thanks to all the students of the University of Salerno. Enzo Rizzo thanks the Director of CNR-IMAA (Dr Vincenzo Lapenna) for his support to the geophysical activities in AAL project. The authors thanks the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions that improved the paper.

Author Contributions

ER, LC, GDM and FP carried out the geophysical measurements (Geomagnetic and GPR), processed and analysed the data. AS (AAL Project Leader), CBDV and DM carried out the archaeological studies, the excavations and the interpretation of the geomagnetic maps.


  1. Annan AP (2009) Electromagnetic principles of ground penetrating radar. In: Jol HM (ed) Ground penetrating radar: theory and applications. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 3–40. ISBN 978-0-444-53348-7Google Scholar
  2. Birks HH, Birks HJB, Kaland PE, Moe D (1988) The cultural landscape, past, present and future. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Caggiani MC, Ciminale M, Gallo D, Noviello M, Salvemini F (2012) Online non destructive archaeology; the archaeological park of Egnazia (Southern Italy) study case. J Archaeol Sci 39:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cambi F (2011) Manuale di archeologia dei paesaggi. Metodologie, fonti, contesti, Carocci, RomaGoogle Scholar
  5. Capizzi P, Cosentino PL, Fiandaca G, Martorana R, Messina P, Vassallo S (2007) Geophysical investigations at the Himera archaeological site, northern Sicily. Near Surf Geophys 5:417–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Capozzoli L, De Martino G, Perciante F and Rizzo E (2017) Geophysical techniques applied to investigate underwater structures. In: 9th International workshop on advanced ground penetrating radar (IWAGPR), Edinburgh, 2017, pp 1–5.
  7. Cardarelli E, Fischanger F, Piro S (2008) Integrated geophysical survey to detect buried structures for archaeological prospecting. A case-history at Sabine Necropolis (Rome, Italy). Near Surf Geophys 6:15–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chianese D, D’Emilio M, Di Salvia S, Lapenna V, Ragosta M, Rizzo E (2004) Magnetic mapping, ground penetrating radar surveys and magnetic susceptibility measurements for the study of the archaeological site of Serra di Vaglio (Southern Italy). J Archaeol Sci 31:633–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chianese D, Lapenna V, Di Salvia S, Perrone A, Rizzo R (2010) Joint geophysical measurements to investigate the Rossano of Vaglio archaeological site (Basilicata Region, Southern Italy). J Archaeol Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chouquer G, Clavel-Leveque M, Favory F, Vallat JP (1987) Structures agraires en Italie mentroméridionale. Cadastres et paysages ruraux. Ècole Française de Rome, RomeGoogle Scholar
  11. Conyers LB (2006) Ground-penetrating radar for archaeological mapping. In: Wiseman J, El-Baz F (eds) Remote sensing in archaeology. Interdisciplinary contributions to archaeology. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Daniels DJ (ed) (2004) Ground penetrating radar, 2nd edn. The Institute of Electrical Engineers, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. De Vita CB, Terribile A (2014) Ancient Appia Landscapes: formation and degeneration processes in landscapes stratification of Benevento area. In: Proceedings of 3rd international landscapes archaeology conference, p 1–11Google Scholar
  14. Goodman D, Piro S (2009) Ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys at Aiali (Grosseto). In: Campana S, Piro S (eds) Seeing the un-seen. Geophysics and landscape archaeology. Taylor and Francis, London, pp 297–302. ISBN 978-0-415-44721-8Google Scholar
  15. Goodman D, Piro S (2013) GPR remote sensing in archaeology, vol 9. Geotechnologies and the environment. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keay SJ, Parcak SH, Strutt KD (2014) High resolution space and ground-based remote sensing and implications for landscape archaeology: the case from Portus, Italy. J Archaeol Sci 52:277–292. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Leucci G, Negri S, Carrozzo MT, Nuzzo L (2002) Use of ground penetrating radar to map subsurface moisture variations in an urban area. JEEG 7(2):69–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leucci G, Masini N, Rizzo E, Capozzoli L, De Martino G, De Giorgi L, Marzo C, Roubis D, Sogliani F (2015) Integrated archaeogeophysical approach for the study of a medieval monastic settlement in Basilicata. Open Archaeol 1(1):2300–6560. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Masini N, Capozzoli L, Chen P, Chen F, Romano G, Lu P, Tang P, Sileo M, Ge Q, Lasaponara R (2017) Towards an operational use of geophysics for archaeology in Henan (China): methodological approach and results in Kaifeng. Remote Sens 9(8):809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meomartini A (1907) Del cammino della via Appia verso Brindisi nel territorio di Benevento, del sito di Nuceriola e degli scongiuri di S. Barbato, BeneventoGoogle Scholar
  21. Milsom J, Eriksen A (2011) Field geophysics, 4th edn. Wiley, Hoboken. ISBN 978-0-470-74984-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Novo A, Lorenzo H, Rial F, Pereira M, Solla M (2008) Ultra-dense grid strategies for 3D GPR in archaeology. In: Proceeding of the 12th international conference on ground penetrating radar, BirminghamGoogle Scholar
  23. Peregrine AGL, Rogers MB, Jordan KA (2012) Understanding the built environment at the seneca iroquois white springs site using large-scale, multi-instrument archaeogeophysical surveys. J Archaeol Sci 39(7):2042–2048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pipan M, Baradello L, Forte E, Finetti I (2001) Ground penetrating radar study of iron age tombs in southeastern Kazakhstan. Archaeol Prospect 8:141–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Piro S (2009) Introduction to geophysics for archaeology. In: Campana S, Piro S (eds) Seeing the unseen. Geophysics and landscape archaeology. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, OxonGoogle Scholar
  26. Piro S, Goodman D, Nishimura Y (2003) The study and characterization of Emperor Traiano’s villa using high-resolution integrated geophysical surveys. Archaeol Prospect 10:1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Piro S, Ceraudo G, Zamuner D (2011) Integrated geophysical and archaeological investigations of Aquinum in Frosinone, Italy. Archaeol Prospect 18:127–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ranieri G, Loddo F, Godio A, Stocco S, Casas A, Capizzi P, Messina P, Orfila M, Cau MA, Chávez ME (2016) Geophysical prospection of the Roman city of Pollentia, Alcúdia (Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain). J Appl Geophys 134:125–135. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rizzo E, Chianese D, Lapenna V (2005) Integration of magnetometric, gpr and geoelectric measurements applied to the archaeological site of Viggiano (Southern Italy, Agri Valley- Basilicata). Near Surf Geophys 3:13–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rizzo E, Masini N, Lasaponara R (2010) Orefici G (2010) ArchaeoGeophysical methods in the Templo del Escalonado (Cahuachi, Nasca, Perù). Near Surf Geophys 8(5):433–439Google Scholar
  31. Rossi A, Santoriello A (2014) A project between ancient topography and landscape archaeology: landscapes of Appia Antica in the territory of Benevento (AAL). In: Proceedings of 3rd international landscapes archaeology conference.
  32. Santoriello A (2014) Paesaggi agrari della colonia di Beneventum, in Lambert C, Pastore F (a cura di), Miti e popoli del Mediterraneo antico. Scritti in onore di Gabriella D’Henry 2014:257–265Google Scholar
  33. Santoriello A (2015) Dinamiche di trasformazione territoriale e assetti agrari: Benevento, Paestum, Pontecagnano. In: Longo F, Tomay L, Santoriello A, Serritella A (eds) Continuità e trasformazioni attraverso l’analisi di due aree campione: il territorio beneventano e il golfo di Salerno, Atti del LII, Convegno di Studi sulla Magna Grecia, Taranto 27–30 settembre 2012, pp. 286–301Google Scholar
  34. Santoriello A (2017) L’Appia tra Beneventum e Ad Calorem: riflessioni e nuovi spunti di ricerche. In: Pandemos (ed) Percorsi. Scritti di Archeologia di e per Angela Pontrandolfo, vol 2, pp 271–288Google Scholar
  35. Santoriello A, De Vita CB, Musmeci D, Terribile A, De Martino G, Perciante F, Rizzo E (2015) Measuring ancient spaces: land use and framework of a hidden landscape. Ancient Appia Landscapes. In: Proceedings of 1st international conference on metrology for archaeology, Benevento, 22–23 Oct 2015, pp 439–444Google Scholar
  36. Simyrdanis K, Papadopoulos N, Kim JH, Tsourlos PI (2015) Archaeological investigations in the shallow seawater environment with electrical resistivity tomography. Near Surf Geophys 13:601–611. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Trinks I, Neubauer W, Hinterleitner A (2014) First high-resolution GPR and magnetic archaeological prospection at the Viking age settlement of Birka in Sweden. Archaeol Prospect 21(3):185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Viberg A, Berntsson A, Lidén K (2013) Archaeological prospection of a high altitude Neolithic site in the Arctic mountain tundra region of northern Sweden. J Archaeol Sci 40(6):2579–2588. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio HydrogeositeCNR-IMAATitoItaly
  2. 2.Università degli Studi di SalernoFiscianoItaly

Personalised recommendations