Geophysical investigation at 31MA684 floodplain and 31MA774 hilltop, Macon County, North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ari D. Lukas (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Roy Stine

Abstract: On October 8th and 9th and December 11th, 2014 a geophysical survey was conducted on two areas adjacent to McCoy Bridge in Macon County, North Carolina. The purpose of the survey was to identify a potential Cherokee Indian habitation site that may have existed in this location. This project was unique in that the geophysical survey maps were created prior to mechanical stripping and compared to feature locations created by archaeologists after the topsoil had been removed. Researchers were then able to accurately determine the ability of ground penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic gradiometer to detect subsurface features within the cultural landscape that once existed at sites 31MA684, floodplain, and 31MA774, hilltop. The geophysical survey used a 400 megahertz (MHz) ground penetrating radar (GPR) antenna and a Bartington fluxgate gradiometer; all data were collected at 50 cm transects. The geophysical survey successfully identified approximately 50 percent of the larger features. However, of the 402 features found by archaeologists, most (288) were small post holes. Coupled with the relative dielectric permittivity (RDP) of the site identification of these features proved extremely difficult with the GPR. Additionally, the field where the survey was conducted had years of documented plowing that created deep furrows which resulted in multiple GPR coupling errors. The negligible difference between the feature matrix and surrounding soil combined with the lack of burning also contributed to the inability of either the GPR or gradiometer to detect features. Possible solutions for a higher recovery rate would be to decrease the transect spacing and using a higher frequency antenna in conjunction with the 400 MHz antenna.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Archaeology, Geography, Geophysics, Ground Penetrating Radar, Magnetic Gradiometer, Remote Sensing
Indians of North America $z North Carolina $x Antiquities $x Remote sensing
Cherokee Indians $z North Carolina $z Macon County $x Antiquities
Archaeology $z North Carolina $z Macon County $x Remote sensing
Macon County (N.C.) $x Antiquities $x Remote sensing
Geophysical surveys $z North Carolina $z Macon County
Remote sensing $z North Carolina $z Macon County
Ground penetrating radar

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