Application of Tensorial Electrical Resistivity Mapping to Archaeological Prospection

  • Mihály Varga
  • Attila Novák
  • Sándor SzalaiEmail author
  • László Szarka
Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)


In an archaeological site (Pilisszentkereszt Cistercian Monastery, Hungary) we carried out 3D tensorial geoelectric mapping measurements. We applied the well known tensorial form of Ohm’s differential law, where a 2 × 2 resistivity tensor relates the horizontal current density vector and the corresponding electric field vector. In the DC apparent resistivity tensor there are three independent rotational invariants, and we defined two alternative sets. In the field two perpendicular AB directions were used, and 16∙15 = 240 potential electrodes (with an equidistant space of Δx = Δy = 50 cm) were put in the central (nearly squared, 7.5 m ∙ 7 m) area between the current electrodes. Due to a four-channel measuring system, it was possible to determine both components of a horizontal electric vector at the same time. The time needed to measure all potential differences between the neighbouring potential electrodes (thus to obtain 15∙14 = 210 resistivity tensors), was about 40 min. The tensorial results are shown together with the results of traditional measurements. Man-made origin anomalies as a subsurface channel, building remnants, a furnace and an ancient road have been discovered and described. In field conditions, any resistivity estimation provides reliable information about the subsurface (both the tensor invariants and the traditional mean values). At the same time, the multidimensional (2D and 3D) indicators proved to be informative only in case of significant subsurface inhomogeneities.


Tensor Resistivity Mapping Archaeology 



Theoretical part of the work was started out already in frames of projects TS408048 (2002–2004) and T37694 (2002–2005) of the Hungarian Research Fund; various aspects were elaborated in frames of projects T049604 (2005) and NI 61013 (started in 2006). The field measurements were sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (where the leader of project Medium Regni was Dr. Elek Benkő). J. Túri, A. Kovács and several students (first of all Zs. Pap and A. Károlyi) took part in the field measurement or/and the data processing. M. Varga and A. Novák are PhD students at the University of West-Hungary, Sopron. Comments by A. Ádám (GGRI HAS), the referees (G. Tsokas, P. Mauriello) and the Associate Editor (P. Tsourlos) are also acknowledged.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihály Varga
    • 2
    • 3
  • Attila Novák
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sándor Szalai
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • László Szarka
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Geodetic and Geophysical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of SciencesSopronHungary
  2. 2.KBFI-Triász Kft.BudapestHungary
  3. 3.University of West-HungarySopronHungary

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