Virtual archaeology and archaeological prospection

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) is a research institute of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft  dedicated to the development of new techniques and methodological concepts for landscape archaeology. Founded by university professor Dr. Wolfgang Neubauer, its research programme combines geophysics, aerial imaging, computer science and geomatics to develop efficient and universally applicable approaches for the non-destructive detection, documentation, visualisation, analysis and interpretation of archaeological landscapes. A close partner of the Roman City Carnuntum, the LBI ArchPro discovered the gladiator school in 2011, one of the earliest military camps Carnuntum in 2014 and located the barracks of the governor’s guards in 2015.



A combination of airborne scanners and new magnetometer and radar systems capturing both conspicuous traces on the surface as well as the those hidden beneath the earth visualize thousand- year-old treasures on the computer screen.

Airborne remote sensing (aerial photography; airborne laser scanning) is a cost effective way of detecting sites from above. It provides detailed maps of archaeological structures and digital surface models of entire landscapes.

The most efficient methods of geophysical archaeological prospection are magnetometer and ground penetrating radar measurements. The magnetometer measures changes in the earth's magnetic field caused by archaeological structures. The ground radar provides the three-dimensional imaging of such structures on the computer screen through the use of electromagnetic waves to a depth of about two meters. The latest developments allow the use of motorized multi-sensor systems, and thus the large-scale exploration of the area. The archaeological interpretation is done on the computer: special programs fuse the measured images from air and ground in the virtual space in which the archaeologists map and analyse the archaeological evidence.

Besides its extensive work in Carnuntum, the LBI ArchPro also conducted sensational discoveries in comprehensive studies of the World Heritage Sites Stonehenge (UK) and the Viking Age Birka in Sweden.


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