Archaeological survey 2

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Courtesy of ZZ Resistivity Imaging Pty. Ltd.

The site of the Meadows’ Wesleyan Cemetery in the Adelaide is thought to contain more than 130 unmarked graves. This site initially had a chapel constructed on it in 1840 and the first burial in 1855.  The initial chapel was replaced by a more substantial stone building in 1856.  Burials continued in this cemetery sporadically until the 1940’s although the site became less used after the establishment of a chapel closer to the centre of the town of Meadows in 1877. Ultimately the site fell into disuse, both chapels were removed and many of the grave markers have been lost.  Unfortunately no accurate record of the locations of the former buildings or unmarked graves currently exists.


Dr Ian Moffat from the Department of Archaeology at Flinders University has been using this site to undertake research and teaching since 2009 with a particular focus on locating the unmarked graves and former chapels with geophysical equipment. In 2013 students used the FlashRES-UNIVERSAL with a 0.5m electrode spacing to trial the effectiveness of resistivity profiling to locate unmarked graves on this site.

The results from this survey were outstanding with a number of unmarked graves being located by the presence of conductive anomalies which were validated by ground penetrating radar. The foundations of one of the former chapels was also located by the presence of a large conductive anomaly. This conductive nature of these anomalies (which have been validated by electromagnetic induction survey) are thought to be related to the transport of the conductive clays in the upper soil profile to the deeper subsurface and the preferential ponding of ground water in these areas due to increased soil porosity due to the refilling of these excavations. Despite having no previous geophysical experience the students were able to easily operate the FlashRES-UNIVERSAL with little supervision. Furthermore, the 61-channel capability of the instrument allowed the survey to be completed very quickly despite collecting a number of different of arrays simultaneously.  

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