Archaeological Geophysics in Portugal: Some Survey Examples

  • António CorreiaEmail author
Part of the Natural Science in Archaeology book series (ARCHAEOLOGY)


The first attempts to apply geophysical methods to archaeological sites in Portugal date from the mid-sixties of the last century. Since then, geophysical methods have been used more and more frequently to help with archaeological site recognition, delineating buried structures, and help with excavating strategies. The first geophysical methods used in Portugal were geoelectrical methods followed by magnetic methods. Today these two methods are still used but the georadar and the electrical resistivity tomography methods have also been used on a routine basis whenever local conditions permit.

Four archaeological sites will be described as examples on the use of geophysical methods in Archaeology. Two of them are from roman times (the Roman Villa of Tourega in central Portugal and the Roman town of Troia in the west coast of Portugal), one is from Neolithic times (a burial mound in central Portugal) and the last one is a recent archaeological site (eighteenth century) and has to do with the location of a crypt known to exist in the garden of the Portuguese Legislature in Lisbon.

Only electrical resistivity tomography and georadar were used. The sites were chosen because in all of them there were already previously excavated areas or there were plans for future excavation. When choosing these sites the idea was to be able to compare the interpretations of the geophysical data with the results of future excavations.


Portugal Geophysics Neolithic site Roman site Nineteenth century crypt 



The short examples of application of geophysical methods to archaeology in Portugal, presented in this chapter, could not have been done without the cooperation of several colleagues and researchers from different institutions. The author would like to acknowledge and thank the participation in the field work, the discussions, and the authorisations to use the collected data in this publication to Inês Vaz Pinto (Troia Resort), Teresa Parra da Silva and Joaquim Soares (Museum of Portuguese Legislature), João Caninas (Emerita Ltd.), Isabel Gaspar (Municipality of Proença-a-Nova), and Brooke Berard and Jean-Michel Maillol (University of Calgary). All the equipment used during the field work belongs to the Geophysical Centre of the University of Évora (now Institute of Earth Sciences, Portugal) and the Department of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Calgary (Canada).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and Institute of Earth SciencesUniversity of ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal

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