Geophysics is the study of the Earth by quantitative physical methods, particularly through the measurement of electrical, magnetic, and other physical properties. At CAST, we specialize in using high precision instruments for investigating the shallow subsurface (uppermost 5 meters in most cases) to answer primarily archaeological questions (other research objectives include wildlife biology and paleontology).
Our research has recently focused on improving field methodologies, data processing, and interpretation to make geophysics more accessible to archaeologists.
Through our research projects we have developed new methods for using and integrating multiple geophysical data types, along with other forms of geographic information including aerial and satellite multispectral data and topographic layers. We are currently working on new software that will greatly streamline data processing and integration.
Archaeological geophysics is not new to the University of Arkansas. The Arkansas Archaeological Survey has been using geophysical methods as a part of their research and cultural resource management projects for many years. In addition, the University of Arkansas’ department of Anthropology is home to Dr. Kenneth L. Kvamme, who leads the field in archaeological geophysics. Dr. Kvamme is affiliated with CAST, maintains the ArchaeoImaging Lab, and organizes the North American Database of Archaeological Geophysics.
With demand and interest for archaeological geophysics growing rapidly in the past decade, CAST has become a third center for archaeological geophysics at the University of Arkansas. We have several experts on staff, and a lab equipped with state-of-the-science instruments and computing software. In addition, we are currently developing new software for streamlining data processing, integration, and interpretation.