Recent years have seen an increasing availability of geophysical instruments technologically similar to those produced in the past but characterised by multi-sensor instrumentation. This change has reflected the needs of a large number of professionals, including archaeologists, for the rapid acquisition of geophysical data over ever-larger areas of ground. In archaeology this has led, for the most part, to the application of these new instruments on progressively larger individual sites and on the more or less systematic integration of the resulting data with information derived from field survey and surface collection.
Few archaeologists, however, have posed the following question:
if geophysical methods enable us to gather such a significant mass of information for contexts initially identified through surface find scatters or aerial survey in times of good visibility, what would they be able to uncover in areas where other methods at present show only ‘emptiness’?
Even fewer archaeologists have been falling over themselves to seek an answer to this question!
At the University of Siena from 2007 and at the University of Cambridge from 2014 we have been experimenting with several new systems in chosen study areas and launched a research initiative aimed at large-scale exploration without gaps.