Geophysical investigations in the service of Mount Carmel (Israel) prehistoric research

Mina Weinstein-Evron, Alex Beck, Michael Ezersky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geophysical investigations in el-Wad Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, enabled the mapping of the surface of the bedrock and a reconstruction of the depth of the archeological deposits. Seismic refraction and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) prcvided similar results, indicating the potential value of geophysical studies when one seeks to reconstruct site features and establish future excavation strategies. Results of a GPR survey later conducted in the adjacent Jamal Cave were supported, to a high degree, by subsequent archeological excavations in the course of which Lower and Middle Paleolithic layers were unearthed. A Continuous Vertical Electrical Sounding (CVES) geoelectric survey in the (collapsed) Misliya Cave indicates a low resistivity layer at the upper, central part of the cave, suggesting that lithified archeological deposits, of ca. 4 in, are preserved at the site, This has been supported by a test excavation recently conducted at the site. More intriguing is the case of what, on the basis of the outer morphology of the cliff, seemed to be another collapsed cave just to the north of el-Wad. The CVES survey, at the bottom of the cliff and across the hypothesized cave (or chamber), shows a two-layer model, with a low resistivity (100-200 ohm-m) layer, overlying a layer of high resistivity (8000-10,000 ohm-m). A trial trench indicates that here the bedrock is covered by shallow, recent, surface material, with no archeological value. All three methods of geophysical investigation proved applicable and resulted in the successful evaluation of sites' location, depth and spatial extension, thus forming essential tools in future prehistoric research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1341
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks are due to D. Kaufman for his comments and assistance in the editing of the manuscript. The Mount Carmel prehistoric research at el-Wad and Misliya caves is supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 913/01), the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation and the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation.


  • Geophysical investigations
  • Israel
  • Levant
  • Mount Carmel
  • Prehistory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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