Integrated Geophysics and Geomatics Surveys in the Valley of the Kings

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Mar 11;20(6):1552. doi: 10.3390/s20061552.


Recent results within the framework of the collaborative project The Complete Geophysical Survey of the Valley of the Kings (VOK) (Luxor, Egypt) are reported in this article. In October 2018, a team of geomatics and geophysics researchers coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Turin worked side by side in the VOK. Topographic measurements in support of geophysical surveys and the achievement of a very large-scale 3D map of the Eastern VOK were the two main objectives of the geomatics campaign. Innovative 3D metric technologies and methods, based on terrestrial laser scanning (both static and mobile) and close-range photogrammetry were employed by the Geomatics team. The geophysical campaign focused on the acquisition of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and high spatial density Geomagnetic (GM) data. ERT new data around KV62, both inverted in 2D sections and added to the previous ones to perform a new global 3D inversion, confirm the previous results showing both conductive and resistive anomalies that have to be explained. GPR timeslices showed some interesting features in the area in front of the KV2 entrance where GM gradient map also presents localized anomalies. In the area SSW of the KV2 the GM gradient maps evidenced also a large semicircular anomaly which, up to now, has no explanation. The potentialities of using magnetic techniques as a complement to other non-invasive techniques in the search for structures of archeological significance have been explored. The application of modern and innovative methods of 3D metric survey enabled to achieve a complete 3D mapping of what is currently visible in the valley. The integration of 2D/3D mapping data concerning visible elements and hypothetical anomalies, together with the recovering in the same global reference system of underground documentation pertaining to the Theban Mapping Project, prefigure the enhancement of multi-temporal site representation. This strategy enables the fruition development of the already discovered archaeological heritage, using modern criteria of valorization and conservation.

Keywords: Valley of the Kings; archaeology; close-range photogrammetry; electrical resistivity tomography; geomagnetic survey; geomatics; geophysics; ground-penetrating radar; laser scanning; simultaneous localization and mapping.