March 16: Geophysics in Archeology: A National Park Service Perspective

Event Details


Date: March 15, 2014

Times: 2 p.m.

Location: Gilbert Science Center Auditorium (GSC #100)

Ticket Info: Free

March's installment of Augustana's Third Sunday Archeology Program will feature Steven L. De Vore, Park Archeology program manager for the National Park Service, Midwest Archeological Center, in Lincoln, Neb. De Vore's discussion on “Geophysics in Archeology: A National Park Service Perspective” will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, at the Gilbert Science Center Auditorium (GSC #100) on the Augustana campus.

The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a question/answer session. Refreshments will be served.

Geophysical exploration techniques, also referred to as “remote sensing,” rely on nonintrusive methods to look beneath the soil surface in an attempt to locate buried cultural features and anomalies. In addition to the advantage of being a nondestructive approach, geophysical surveys cover large areas in a short time, create 3-dimensional images of buried features, and supplement traditional digging methods.

The National Park Service has been instrumental in the continued development of geophysical techniques since the 1960s and 1970s. The Midwest Archeological Center in collaboration with the Physics Department at the University of Nebraska developed magnetic techniques. The Center was also instrumental in developing metal detector survey techniques for battlefield studies.

De Vore will illustrate archeological prospection activities with case studies from Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Effigy Mounds National Monument and other sites across the country.

About Steven L. De Vore

Steven De Vore is an archeologist for the National Park Service's Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Neb. De Vore received his Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology in 1973 and his Masters of Arts degree in Anthropology in 1984 from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. His primary research interests include the geophysical applications and North American and historical archeology, particularly in the Prairie-Plains area. He has been an archeologist with the National Park Service since 1984.

During his career, De Vore has worked on archeological sites in all of the states west of the Mississippi River except Hawaii and several states east of the Mississippi River. Projects have ranged from Paleoindian sites to the backyards of presidential homes. His main interest is in the application of geophysical techniques to archeological prospection. He has been the organizer of the National Park Service’s archeological prospection workshop for 23 years. This program, entitled “Current Archeological Prospection Advances for Non-Destructive Investigations in the 21st Century,” provides training in the use of geophysical techniques.

This program is funded in part by Augustana College’s Mellon Fund Committee, Augustana College’s Archeology Laboratory and the Sioux Falls Chapter of the South Dakota Archaeological Society.

The upper right image on this page is from Mud Springs (ground penetrating radar survey near Dalton, in western Nebraska) and the bottom image is a metal detector survey at Pea Ridge National Military Park (in Arkansas).

metal detector survey at Pea Ridge National Military Park


L. Adrien Hannus
Director, Archeology Lab
Augustana College
605.274.5493
adrien.hannus@augie.edu