UBC Graduate Research

Ground Penetrating Radar Theory, Data Collection, Processing, and Interpretation: A Guide for Archaeologists Dojack, Lisa


This guide was originally written as a term project for a Graduate Research Seminar (Anthropology 545) directed by Dr. Andrew Martindale at the University of British Columbia in 2010-11. It was produced as a teaching tool for students in the Department of Anthropology and other users of the Laboratory of Archaeology’s ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment. The guide provides a review of GPR theory, data collection, processing, and interpretation, presented in three sections. Section 1 (GPR Fundamentals) focuses on the principles of GPR: how electromagnetic radar waves move through the ground, what happens when they encounter subsurface features, and how they are imaged in GPR software programs. Section 2 (Data Editing and Processing) focuses specifically on what happens to the data after collection in the field, when they are returned to the lab and undergo a variety of processes to transform them into two- and three-dimensional images of the subsurface. Section 3 (Data Interpretation) focuses on how we read these computer-generated images, and provides descriptions of the various signal types that can be produced from common archaeological features. A companion guide focusing on GPR data collection is forthcoming by Steve Daniel.

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