Dr. Lev Appelbaum from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences in the Faculty of Exact Sciences at Tel Aviv University combined seven different geophysical methods and developed an algorithm that allows the data of all methods to be combined and noise removed
Researchers at Tel Aviv University, led by Dr. Lev Appelbaum from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences in the Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, at Tel Aviv University have developed a new method for locating archaeological sites buried underground. The new method was recently published in the Journal Advances of Geosciences.
It is a combination of different sensing methods, some of which are based on different radio frequencies - including those used to communicate with submarines, others based on magnetic resonance, temperature and other features used to locate objects below the surface of the ground and separate them from their environment, and a mathematical algorithm that unifies them, tries to clean up noises and enables decision-making based on Some of the methods.
According to Dr. Appelbaum, there are seven different and independent methods, so that if the conditions on the ground neutralize one method for example, the archaeological findings can still be located considering the other six methods. The method is good for depths of up to tens of meters, and it relies on the differences in density between the ancient bone and its environment - whether it is sand, basalt, etc.
The main challenges in the development were dealing with different types of "noise" and disturbances that prevent it from correctly analyzing the findings of the various sensors that feed it. The noises can be of several types - when, for example, many bodies are under the surface of the ground and disrupt the signals from the relevant site. Another challenge that the researchers were able to meet is the possibility of locating the findings even when the ground is not smooth and straight, as standard instruments used by archaeologists do. Another challenge was the polarization of the magnetic field which changes over time and the reason why the inclination of the magnetic field in the Middle East region is currently 45 degrees and it is very difficult to detect deviations from it. To illustrate, in Canada, where the north magnetic pole is currently located, the polarization is vertical and therefore it is very easy to detect anomalies. Also, the development of the mathematical method developed by Applebaum and two other researchers - Dr. Leonid Alperovitz from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences at Tel Aviv University and Dr. Valeri Zhaldev from the School of Computer Sciences at Tel Aviv University, makes it possible to combine analyzes from the various geophysical data and to download the the noise, and get results even if noises are received by two or three methods.
"In Israel we have so many archaeological finds that have not yet been discovered, so the method will be useful. The method I developed can also help locate remains of indigenous cultures in America as well as locate minerals and other elements below the surface of the ground." Dr. Appelbaum clarifies.
Dr. Appelbaum's solution is called multi-PAM - where PAM is the acronym for the term physical and archaeological models
Dr. Appelbaum estimates that if they place the facility in a drone hovering several meters above the ground and scan wide strips of land, the method will be able to uncover sites of historical and archaeological importance. It is estimated that today there are about 20 undiscovered archaeological sites in Israel.