Geophysical observations at archaeological sites: Estimating informational content

Lev V. Eppelbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The application of geophysical methods to archaeological sites is limited by physical, environmental, economic and time considerations. The presence of numerous kinds of noise means that in many cases the archaeological targets and surrounding media are best approached as probabilistic objects, such that the amount of information potentially available from different geophysical methods can be estimated by probabilistic and statistical methods, including the risks associated with this decision-making. Here it is shown that simple informational and probabilistic criteria can be applied to formalize the information that can be obtained by applying different geophysical methods. To assess their relative value, geophysical methods, geophysical information and cost and time factors are convoluted in order to generate integrated parameters. This theoretical presentation of the information parameters is illustrated by the calculation of actual results. The solution to this 'four colour' mathematical problem shows that two independent geophysical methods are sufficient to characterize the archaeological potential of a site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-138
Number of pages14
JournalArchaeological Prospection
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Archaeological target
  • Convolution of information
  • Geophysical indicators
  • Information and probabilistic approaches
  • Logical heuristic model
  • Physical archaeological model


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