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Geophysical Assessment and Mitigation of Degraded Archaeological Sites in Luxor Egypt

  • Ahmed Ismail
Chapter
Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)

Abstract

This study demonstrates the use of geophysics in the field of archaeology not for archaeological exploration but for site assessment and mitigation of degraded archaeological sites because of rough environmental or cultural hazards. Accelerated deterioration of the stone foundations of many temples and monuments at Luxor, Egypt has been documented and is causing global concern for their long-term safety and serviceability. These stone foundations appear to be degrading due to the rise in level and increase in salinity of groundwater. Groundwater transported into the stone foundations by capillary rise through the underlying soil is thought to cause a loss of cohesion and rigidity of these foundations. Moreover, the capillary waters deliver salts into the stone foundations. Pressure developed during crystallization and hydration of these salts exfoliates the outer layers of the stone foundations, allowing them to be easily eroded by wind and other physical processes. The rise in level and increase in salinity of groundwater is thought to be the main problem behind the antiques degradation scenario. We conducted integrated geophysical survey in the form of resistivity and seismic refraction and collected surface water samples for chemical analysis in order to determine the reasons of rise in level and increase in salinity of groundwater. The results showed groundwater is flowing from the east toward the temples area and the groundwater salinity is increasing in the direction of groundwater flow. Our proposed solution is to interrupt or reverse the groundwater flow to stop rise in level and increase in salinity of groundwater.

Keywords

Geophysics Archaeology Stone foundation Luxor Deterioration Mitigation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boone Pickens School of GeologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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