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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

1 Institute of Archaeology of Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic, Letenska 4, CZ-118 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic,
tel.: +420-2-575 33 782, fax: +420-2-575 32 288, email: krivanek@arup.cas.cz
2 Czech National Centre of Egyptology + Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University, Celetna 20, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech
Republic, tel.: +420-2-24491394, fax: +420-2-24491628, email: miroslav.barta@ff.cuni.cz (or Czech Institute of Egyptology, 4
Dokki Street, Giza-Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, tel.: +202-3315257, 3315297, fax: +202-7485892, email: mbarta@yahoo.com)
Task Group TG3
KEY WORD: archaeology, geophysics, surveying, measurements, mapping, identification, egyptology, cemetery
Enclosed paper demonstrates on example of south Abusir area in Egypt possibilities of application of present geophysical survey
methods in desert region. Non-destructive geophysical prospection of large areas choosen by egyptologists outside of previous and
present archaeological excavations brought a new view on extent and quantity of archaeological remains (cemetery) beneath the
sand and also practical experience (limits and possibilities of applied geophysical methods) in various terrain desert conditions.
Subsequently planned archaeological verification of geophysical results in 2003 field-season then could help for better interpretation
of geophysical data. Comparison of results of non-destructive and destructive archaeological techniques then could coordinate
another planned geophysical surveys in territory of the new Czech archaeological concession.
Wide desert area western of Abusir village is a field
working place of czech egyptologists for more than 40
years. The large territory of the new Czech
archaeological concession in Abusir (aprox. 2 km 2 )
includes very various and sloped desert terrains
including some important archaeological monument
from the time of Old Kingdom or Late Period. Northern
part of territory of Czech archaeological concession
includes flat or slightly sloped desert terrain with the
pyramid field of Abusir, mortual complexes and
mastabas from the 5th Dynasty (25th-24th century BC).
This part is the most surevyed and also archaeologically
excavated area of the whole territory with more visible
modern landscape changes. Geophysical surveys of
choosen parts of this area have been realised in late 70's
and early 80's by dr. Hasek (Hasek-Obr-Prichystal-
Verner 1986; Hasek-Obr-Verner 1988; Verner-Hasek
1981). Middle part of territory of Czech archaeological
concession is covered by more flat desert without many
visible and significant terrain changes or indications of
archaeological situations. Archaeological activities (and
smaller geophysical surveys) were here up to now
concentrated only on smaller parts of terrain in place of
Sate-Persian shaft tombs of admiral Wedjahorresnet or
majordomus Iufaa (6th-5th centrury BC). Southern part
of territory of Czech archaeological concession (Barta-
Krejci 2000; Barta 2001) includes different more
various hilly or sloped desert terrains northern of North
Sakkara with more areas of limited archaeological
excavations on places of private tombs (and shaft
tombs) of Hetepi, Ity, Kaaper, Fetekti, Inti or Qar family
complex from the 3rd-6th Dynasty (28th-22nd century
BC). This large perspective terrain of cemeteries has not
been surveyed by any non-destructive method up to
2001 when started a new field surface survey of areas
including geodetical 3D-modelling (Bruna 2002) and
fotogrammetry (Cech 2002).
The new possibility of cooperation between new
founded Czech National Centre of Egyptology and the
Institute of Archaeology in Prague could start by new
geophysical field surveys of choosen parts of Abusir
territories in autumn 2002 (Krivanek-Barta 2003).
During 23 days of geophysical measurements in the
field there were used (or also tested in different scale of
work) 3 types of geophysical equipment. Caesium
magnetometers Smartmag, SM-4g (Scintrex, Canada)
seemed to be the most efficient method for preliminary
surveying (and mapping) of large unknown terrains
especially in case of expected or supposed mud bricks
components of subsurface features. Approx. 17,5 ha
were surveyed (common grid-net 1x0,25 m, details in
grid-net 0,5x0,2 m) by Cs-magnetometrs during 18 days
(in total approx. 746 000 measured points). Kappameter
for detailed measuremets of apparent surface magnetic
susceptibility in situ KT-5c (Geofyzika Brno, Czech
republic) showed interesting results for survey of
particular features (tombs) and smaller open
archaeological situations (different levels of magn.
susceptibilty of mud brick walls from different tombs).
Electromagnetic measurements by EM-38b (Geonics,
Canada) tested also possibilities of identification of non
magnetic materials (limestome, tafia or clay destruction)
of shallow subsurface features.
All of areas for geophysical surveys (4 in southern part
and 1 in middle part of territory) were selected in