Here is a GPR, which stands for Ground Penetrating Radar:
This $300,000 baby can detect objects and graves, 3 metres in the earth below it, as it collects signatures from disturbances in the soil. It speaks to about 4 satellites in the sky and so its precision in locating artefacts on Earth is accurate down to the centimetre.
It also is (literally) a repurposed lawnmower.
You drive it like a tractor in swathes through the field, and the technology maps that field, telling the archaeologist if there’s anything to investigate.
According to the scientist who recently acquired it on behalf of our university, there is only one GPR in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
Something really awesome that happened by pure chance is that my paired group was the first to to be stationed here, during the first rotation on the first day.
When our professor was done with briefing – “right, who wants to drive it?!” – the other girl in my group, who doesn’t drive a car, looked at me in alarm. I was already itching to clamber on, and so I did. I can now say I was literally the first student ever to operate the only GPR on this side of the planet*. Wooo!
This week I’ve been at my first archaeological field school, and will upload more about what we were researching over the next few posts. I just had to dedicate one post about what we did first on Day 1.
*I don’t need to impress anyone as this blog is essentially anonymous, but this is true, and I was chuffed.