Ultra-shallow shear-wave reflections locating near-surface buried structures in the unexcavated southern fringe of the ancient Ostia, Rome

Ranajit Ghose , Jianhuan Liu, Deyan Draganov, Dominique Ngan-Tillard, Martijn Warnaar, Joeri Brackenhoff, Jens van den Berg, Hanna Stoger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


The southern boundary of Region IV of ancient Ostia coincides with the southern limit of the excavated area of the ancient city. The perceived expanse of the city is influenced by the extent of the excavation. It is not known if the unexcavated part lying south of Region IV also contains structures of antiquity which might have important historical significance. We have carried out high-resolution, shallow seismic reflection surveys along two profiles, using shear (transverse) waves. The goal of these pilot surveys was to see if any indication of ultra-shallow scatterers, indicating potential location of shallow-buried structures, can be found in the shear wave data. The results show very distinct back-scattered shear-wave arrivals from a mysterious tumulus, whose location along Line A was known. It has been possible to interpret with reasonable confidence the location of several conspicuous, shallow scatterers in the two seismic profiles. Use of shear waves and a high-frequency, electromagnetic shear-wave vibrator was crucial to achieve seismic a resolution of nearly 25 cm. The amplitude of the scattered energy is helpful to locate the relatively strong scatterers. Our results suggest that the unexcavated areas located south of Region IV most likely contain buried underground structures. 3-D shear-wave seismic reflections together with new seismic-imaging approaches will be promising to illuminate the unknown shallow subsurface of this important archeological site in a noninvasive manner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesignating Place
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeological Perspectives of Built Environment in Ostia and Pompeii
EditorsHans Kamermans, L. Bouke van der Meer
PublisherLeiden University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789087283575
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameArchaeological Studies Leiden University
PublisherLeiden University Press


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