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Archaeological Services logo with archaeologist doing resistivity survey as backdrop

Geophysical Survey 

Geophysics is widely used in the support of planning applications. 

Geophysical survey is a cost-effective, non-intrusive and relatively quick way of detecting and assessing sub-surface features. Our geophysical survey service specialises in identifying potential archaeological deposits. We offer a range of geophysical techniques, which can be employed individually or together depending on site specific factors. 

Survey is followed by specialist analysis and interpretation of the data. Over the last 18 years our experienced survey teams have carried out surveys on a wide variety of projects, including: 

  • Pre-development investigations for residential, commercial and public developments
  • Pre-development investigations for road, pipeline, renewable energy and other infrastructure schemes across the UK
  • Park and garden surveys for historic landscape projects
  • Academic research around the world
  • National and international heritage management projects

All work is carried out to national standards and guidance. The survey techniques we most commonly use are magnetometry, earth electrical resistance (resistivity) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR). 

Our surveys are related to the Ordnance Survey National Grid using global positioning systems (GPS) with real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections typically providing 10mm accuracy. Survey data can be quickly processed and analysed and provided in a variety of formats, including full CAD integration. 


a quadbike pulling a cart-mounted geophysical survey system

Magnetometry survey using our multichannel fluxgate gradiometer towed by quadbike allows fast, high-density data collection

a greyscale map of magnetometer data from the site of a Roman Fort showing buried archaeological features

Magnetometer survey showing the buried remains of the Roman Fort at Lanchester

Earth-electrical resistance survey at Chatsworth House

a greyscale map of earth-electrical resistance data from the site of Roman marching camps on Hadrians Wall showing buried archaeological features

Earth-electrical resistance survey showing banks and ditches at the Haltwhistle Burn Roman marching camps at Hadrian's Wall

an archaeologist using GPR to survey Palace Green outside Durham Cathedral

GPR survey outside Durham Cathedral

a greyscale map of gpr data showing buried archaeological features, including a former church and buildings along a street front

GPR results from Sri Lanka showing subsurface remains of a former church and streetfront

Contact Archaeological Services

Archaeological Services

Durham University
Ushaw: Historic House, Chapels & Gardens

near Durham



Tel: +44 (0)191 334 1121