Ramesses and Radar: A collaborative study of a tomb complex at South Asasif, Luxor, Egypt
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) datasets were acquired, in August 2011, in support of archaeological investigations at the South Asasif tomb complex (Luxor, Egypt). The goal of the GPR acquisitions was to image the extent of an ancient tomb beyond the current limits of its excavation, and specifically to image potential access points to the tomb’s main chamber. Data were acquired using a Sensors and Software pulseEKKO PRO system, equipped with antennas of 200 MHz and 500 MHz centre frequencies. In addition to a common-offset grid (9 x 28 m) located above the target area, a number of calibration datasets were collected to assist interpretation, including vertical radar profiles (VRPs) and static reflectivity surveys over representative materials. The depth penetration of GPR energy at the site, ~ 1 m, was poorer than anticipated, attributable to the presence of organic-rich layers within the local desert sand. Nonetheless, the presence of archaeological structures was inferred from depressions in those layers, an interpretation that was reinforced following the partial excavation of a new chamber of the tomb. The specifics of the GEF loan were the 500 MHz GPR antennas, obtained via an emergency grant after the system we planned to deploy developed a fault.
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