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EAGER: Assessing the Reliability of the Geophysical identification of Early Christian Churchyards and burials in Northern Iceland

General

Project start
01.01.2013
Project end
31.12.2014
Type of project
ARMAP/NSF
Project theme
Society, economy and culture
Project topic
Culture & history

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Iceland
Fieldwork region
Iceland
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 65.733333, -19.533333

Fieldwork start
16.06.2014
Fieldwork end
07.07.2014

SAR information

Project details

02.08.2019
Science / project plan

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Science / project summary
This is an EAGER project to test the reliability of geophysical reconnaissance methods to identify buried Christian churchyards and cemeteries in Iceland. The research will allow the joint Icelandic/US team to evaluate the reliability of two geophysical methods on five known or suspected early Viking Age churchyards that are in a variety of geophysical environments. Currently, the most reliable geophysical method to detect Viking Age Christian cemeteries in Iceland is GPR. The problem is that for GPR to be effective, it is necessary to strip off the grass in advance of survey. This is expensive and potentially destructive to archaeological contexts. The team will employ electromagnetic (EM) surveying with new multi-sensor instrumentation as an alternative method for locating preserved walls of churchyards. Positive results from this unique opportunity to evaluate these geophysical applications could greatly expand our knowledge of early Christian practices of the Viking Age. More broadly, many of the innovations, especially in identifying cemeteries and mapping graves, have applications in other archaeological regions and periods, as well as other fields (e.g., forensic sciences). The ability to identify cemeteries and map the distribution graves and possibly to assess skeletal preservation has obvious value to archaeological investigations, heritage management efforts, and forensic scientists around the world.
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