Geophysical measurements at Ephesos. © S. Seren

Looking at the past provides a means to understand the future. This is of particular relevance when economic interests are involved. Archaeology is increasingly supported by geophysical methods. Excavations generally only take place once non-destructive measurements have taken place. The methods used can be compared to a scanner, with the difference that the scanned region is not the surface but the first couple of meters of soil. Prior to excavations, the dimensions of archaeological structures can be determined, thus allowing the time needed for excavations to be estimated. This enables cost effective traffic planning to take place prior to archaeological digging, or historical objects to be recovered before they are destroyed through construction work. The methods used span the whole spectrum of available geophysical prospection. The latest initiative in this respect is the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaelogy. More information on