Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) has proved to be an important technological innovation for archaeologists, allowing subsurface structures to be examined in a non-invasive manner. This is particularly relevant to the identification of historic graves. Where graves or burials exist without any form of headstone or marker, it can be almost impossible to determine their existence, short of extensive and costly archaeological excavations.
Ground Penetrating Radar is entirely non-invasive and utilises a portable radar unit (roughly the size of a lawnmower), which emits radio waves on the microwave spectrum into the soil. These radio waves bounce off any subsurface features and are reflected. These reflected waves are later analysed to understand which subsurface structures are present.
In the context of grave identification, the unit can detect the differences and changes in subsurface composition created during the excavation of the grave cut, or the presence of interred remains, or a coffin. Therefore, we can use this assessment to quickly cover large areas of ground and pinpoint grave locations without any physical disturbance to the archaeological features at a site. Not only does this approach remove the guesswork from traditional methods, but it also saves our clients time and money. We have also undergone several graveyard mapping exercises that allowed our clients to ensure accurate placement of future grave plots and peace of mind, knowing where existing graves are.
The applications of this technology quickly become apparent, whether it be during the planning stage of a project, highlighting any potential gravesites which might be best left undisturbed, or in a scenario where the decision has been made to exhume remains. Trace Enterprises has successfully employed this technology on several recent gravesite identification projects involving both Government and Private entities.
Our unique services and expertise save our clients time, money and resources that you cannot get anywhere else. Contact us today to find out how we can discover traces of Australia’s past together!
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