HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Anthropology (Group) » A buried ancient Roman ci...

Fri Jun 12, 2020, 03:12 AM

A buried ancient Roman city uncovered using radar technology

Ground-penetrating radar allows the non-invasive virtual excavation of Falerii Novi.
11 June, 2020

It doesn't look like much to the naked eye. It's basically an empty field, but if you caught it on the right days, you'd have seen a quad-wheel bike going back and forth while pulling an unremarkable-looking bit of not-really-farm gear. What's been going on there is the layer-by-layer discovery of an ancient Roman town, Falerii Novi. While archaeological finds like this are always interesting, this one is special: The long-buried city has been exposed without the removal of a speck of dirt.

Technology and patience

Image source:Frank Vermeulen/University of Cambridge

Falerii Novi was unearthed using ground-penetrating radar, or GPR. With each pass across that field, the bike pulled a rolling frame outfitted with a GPR instrument that bounced radio waves off of whatever lay beneath it. The device took a reading every 12.5 centimeters, eventually imaging the entire 30.5-hectare area. Without disturbing a single ancient artifact, GPR generated a remarkably detailed look at the lost city, with its various different layers depicting changes that occurred over time.

In the end, the researchers were confronted with 28 billion GPR data points to be processed, an almost impossibly huge task. Each hectare takes about 20 hours to work through, and the team is currently developing automation techniques that will allow them to fully explore the data collected by the GPR.

. . .

What's new/old?

Image source: L. Verdonck/University of Cambridge

The visible Falerii Novi contains a number of surprises.

In a broad sense, the town's layout appears less standardized than archaeologists would expect for an ancient Roman community, with a number of notable features.

There's the mysterious pair of large structures facing each other within a porticus duplex located at the town's northern gate at the upper edge of the image above. Experts have no idea what these buildings are, though they conjecture that they may have been some sort of massive monument overlooking the city's edge.

In addition, for a small city, the temple, market building and bath complex are unexpectedly elaborate.


2 replies, 331 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply A buried ancient Roman city uncovered using radar technology (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jun 2020 OP
Judi Lynn Jun 2020 #1
flotsam Jun 2020 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 12, 2020, 03:37 AM

1. Archaeologists Map Entire Ancient Roman Town without Excavating

by Matthew Hart
Jun 10 2020 • 5:24 PM

Archaeologists from England’s University of Cambridge and Belgium’s Ghent University have mapped an entire ancient Roman town without lifting a shovel. The archaeologists were able to fully map the lost town thanks to advanced radar technology. It allowed them to image the ground at different depths. The technology has so much potential. Archaeologists say it could fundamentally change the way buried urban sites are studied.

Gizmodo UK picked up on the ancient-town mapping, the structures of which are shown in the above image. The journal Antiquity outlined the news in a recent paper. According to the study’s authors, including University of Cambridge Professor Martin Millett, Ghent University post-doctoral fellow Lieven Verdonck, et al., archaeologists uncovered this ancient Roman town using advanced “ground penetrating radar” or GPR.

GPR is defined as a nondestructive method of exploring geophysical formations. It utilizes radar signals produced in the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum to make discoveries. In other words, GPR devices—like the commercial unit described in this video—ping the ground with ultra high frequency and very high frequency radio waves to detect buried objects. When the radio waves hit objects and bounce back to their source, they map said objects.

The ancient Roman town is known as Falerii Novi. It sits roughly 30 miles north of the current day Rome. The ancient, walled city, occupied from roughly 241 BCE to 700 CE, is still partially above ground. However, this is the first time we’ve seen its unearthed portions. Or at least imaged.

According to a University of Cambridge news release, the archaeologists discovered “a bath complex, market, temple, [and] a public monument unlike anything seen before,” beneath the above-ground portion of Falerii Novi. The team even managed to map the town’s sprawling network of water pipes. Additionally, the archaeologists can now study how the town changed over the course of hundreds of years thanks to GPR’s ability to map different depths of subsurface terrain.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jun 12, 2020, 02:30 PM

2. I'd just like to say you are a favorite poster of mine

Both for your scientific and archeological posts and your coverage of politics in South America your posts are ALWAYS worth a read. Thank you!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread