North-Central Section - 39th Annual Meeting (May 19–20, 2005)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


TREAGUE, Jeremy J., Department of Geography & Anthropology, Univ of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004, JOL, Harry M., Department of Geography & Anthropology, Univ of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54702, FISHER, Timothy G., Department of Earth, Ecological & Environmental Sciences, Univ of Toledo, 2801 West Bancroft Rd. MS#604, Toledo, OH 43606-3390, FREUND, Richard A., Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, Univ of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117, REEDER, Philip, Department of Geography, Univ of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620, SAVAGE, Carl, Theological School, Drew Univ, 12 Campus Drive, Madison, NJ 07940 and BAUMAN, Paul D., Komex Int'l LTD, Suite 100, 4500 - 16 Ave. N.W, Calgary, AB T3B0M6, Canada,

To better understand archaeological and geomorphic sites, ground penetrating radar (GPR) has become a popular non-invasive, non-destructive and time-efficient method of data collection. Increasingly, three-dimensional (3D) GPR datasets have been collected because their results significantly enhance the ability to view, analyze and interpret the subsurface. The results from several 3D GPR visualization programs using data from two sites – an archaeologically significant site in Israel and a gravel dune in southern Michigan – will be presented.

At Qumran, Israel, site of the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries, a tomb (#1000) or “mourning enclosure” was surveyed to investigate the possibility of a deeper burial. The site (3m x 4m) was gridded and data was collected with two antennae frequencies (225 MHz and 450 MHz). The GPR dataset and resulting 3D visualization convinced the head archaeologist to initiate an archaeological dig. The excavation resulted in the discovery of a full human skeleton and associated artifacts. The position of the elaborate first century CE burial chamber suggests that a person of significant importance was buried here.

The second site, Rockwell pit, is located in a shallow incipient tunnel channel along the distal side of the Kalamazoo upland (south-central Michigan). Its hummocky terrain, composed of boulder gravel and, above, a supraglacial melt-out till or flow till, has been described as a product of subglacial melt water processes. GPR data (20m x ~30m grid) was collected within the gravel pit using 100 MHz antennae. Interpretation of the 3D visualization reveals that the hummocks are large-scale fluvial bedforms, - gravel dunes, that would have been deposited subglacially in the tunnel channel. The results corroborate with previous suggestions that subglacial meltwater has played an important role in the evolution of the subglacial environment beneath the Saginaw Lobe in Michigan.

The project demonstrates that 3D GPR data collection and the application of 3D visualization techniques should continue to play a significant role in contributing towards a better understanding of the physical environment.