ISAP International Society
for Archaeological Prospection

The Management Committee

Chairman - Chris Gaffney

My first geophysical survey was conducted 20 years ago and I worked as a freelance archaeological geophysicist between first and second degrees. My research, conducted under Arnold Aspinall at Bradford, was on the Schlumberger resistance array. Since leaving academia I have worked in the commercial sector. With John Gater I started the first successful independent 'archaeogeophysical' company in Britain, Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, which now trades under the name GSB Prospection.

The geographical location of my surveys has stretched from America through to Zimbabwe and my interests in archaeological geophysics are equally broad. I have been an Associate Editor, since the first issue in 1994, of Archaeological Prospection. I was part of the Council for British Archaeology Advisory Committee on Archaeological Science and I am currently a member of the steering committee for NERC's Geophysical Equipment Facility.

Although committed to being an applied geophysicist I have taught field courses to diploma, degree, continuing and professional education groups at a number of universities. I still have strong links with Bradford University where I am a Visiting Lecturer.

In my spare time I look at bridges and old postcards of bridges. I try and justify my behaviour by saying 'someone has to do it', but that is untrue! At least it stops me from thinking too much about football…. next year is going to be Newcastle's year. As an alternative to life in general I cycle. All in all I would rather be cycling.

First elected to this post: 11 Sept 2009, re-elected 23 Sept 2011.

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Vice Chairman - Christophe Benech

Christophe Benech is Researcher at the CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research) in the Laboratory Archéorient (Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée - Université Lyon 2).

He completed a PhD in 2000 at the Laboratory Sisyphe (Université Paris 6) about the Joint interpretation of magnetic and electromagnetic surveys to the study of magnetic properties of anthropic soils under the direction of Alain Tabbagh.

In 2001, he entered in the CNRS with a research program about the study of the spatial organization of the urban sites in ancient Near East. He worked on different sites, among them Apamée (Turkey), Pasargades (Iran), Alexandria (Egypt), Taposiris (Egypt), Doura-Europos (Syria).

Today he manages an ANR project (National Agency of Research) on the diachronic study of urban city planning from ancient Syria. This project includes the study of Tell Sheirat (Early Bronze Age), Ugarit (Late Bronze Age), Amrith (Phoenician period) and Cyrrhus (Classical period).

Elected to this post: 23 Sept 2011.

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Honorary Secretary - Armin Schmidt

Although my earliest aspirations were to become an 'inventor' (a suitably broad job description), my fascination was always with history and ancient civilisations. Imagine a child being excited about the illustrated companion volume to C.W. Ceram's 'Gods, Graves and Scholars'. Well, that was me. The rather fearsome looking bog bodies were a bit worrying, but that did not restrain my interest. However, in the end the natural sciences got the better of me and in 1982 I began to study Physics in Munich (Technische Universität München). One of the key events for me during that time was a seminar given by Helmut Becker in which he described the amazing advances in archaeological prospection using Caesium magnetometers. I was hooked. The lecture series on archaeometry had, for my taste, far too little geophysics in it and in the end I decided to do the one-year master's dissertation on electron mobility in liquid Argon at the Max-Planck-Institut für Physik (Heisenberg Institute). Thereby, I had entered the path of low temperature physics and continued with a PhD at the Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) in Aachen on the subject of magnetostriction on high-temperature superconductors. Very interesting (I still wish I had a cryostat at home for some minor experiments), but time had come for archaeological prospection.

When I looked round for the best place to go it became very clear that Bradford was the lead institution for archaeological geophysics. Initially I went for a year, but after a two-year Research Fellowship I was appointed to a permanent Lectureship (later Senior Lectureship). Archaeological geophysics had been built up in Bradford by Arnold Aspinall and for me, like for many others, he was and is a constant source of inspiration. Although retired, he is still active, undertaking experiments with different electrode array geometries in yje water tank and is the founding editor of the journal Archaeological Prospection.

I have been involved in Bradford's MSc in Archaeological Prospection since its beginning in 1994 and the training of highly motivated students in this area has been very rewarding. Some have gone on to do PhDs and meeting one's 'academic off-spring' at international conferences is rather pleasant. Some of them have even become customers of my company, GeodataWIZ.

I have undertaken various research projects over the years. From the surveys of a twice-deserted Medieval Village in Yorkshire, England to the investigation of pre-Hispanic shaft graves along the Ecuadorian coast, they all have been exciting. But my favourite site is Lumbini in Nepal where we investigated the birthplace and childhood palace of The Lord Buddha during several UNESCO missions. A truly magical place and a wonderful country. In all these projects the interaction between archaeologist and geophysicist was crucial for the final interpretation of results and it is the challenge of working at an interdisciplinary level that makes these missions so rewarding. There has to be a willingness to listen to each other and accept that people have different expertise and research culture (think: 'developing a new type of magnetometer' vs. 'the investigation of 100 Roman villas'). My more geophysics-orientated research has concentrated on the development of new magnetometer techniques and on GPR. More recently I have undertaken more integrated geoarchaeological prosjects, especially in Iran.

Archaeological prospection is a rich subject and it has never bored me. Joining this Society of like-minded researchers and practitioners is a good way of connecting the different strands and ideas.

First elected to this post: 11 Sept 2009, re-elected 23 Sept 2011.

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Conference Secretary - Wolfgang Neubauer

Wolfgang Neubauer is Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna.

Elected to this post: 23 Sept 2011.

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Conference Vice-Secretary - Mahmut Drahor

Mahmut G. Drahor was born in Konya, Turkey in 1960. He graduated in 1983 with a BSc in geophysics and M.S. in marine geology and geophysics (1986) at Dokuz Eylül University in ?zmir, Turkey. Then he completed his PhD at the Institute of Science of Dokuz Eylül University in 1993. His PhD is the first completed PhD thesis on the investigation of archaeological sites through geophysical techniques in Turkey. Since then he joined the active education and research in the Department of Geophysics of Dokuz Eylül University. Now, he is a full professor in this department.

Mahmut's main interest is in near surface geophysics and archaeological prospection. Also, he is interested in geothermal and active tectonics. He has expertise in magnetic, resistivity, GPR, self-potential and EM-VLF methods. He institutionalised the archaeological prospection discipline and popularized the application of geophysical techniques at archaeological sites of Turkey. For this purpose, he also established the Center for Near Surface Geophysics and Archaeological Prospection (CNSGAP) of Dokuz Eylül University in 2004, and he has been director of this center from that time. Also, he has organized, planned and participated in more than 50 national and international projects related to archaeological prospection, near surface geophysics, geothermal, active tectonics, engineering and environmental studies in Turkey.

Prof. Drahor is an active member of AGU, EAGE, EEGS, ISAP and BGS. Also, he acted as a member of the scientific committee of the active tectonic research group in Turkey. He has arranged one international (GARS 2008) and some national meetings over the last ten years.

He is interested in extreme sports such as mountaineering, canyoning and caving. Also, he deals with tennis and cycling.

Elected to this post: 23 Sept 2011.

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Editor - Robert Fry

BA. Archaeology (The University of Reading), MSc. Archaeological Prospection (University of Bradford). Currently a PhD student at the University of Bradford.

I have been deeply interested in archaeological geophysics since my first degree at Reading University, where surveys in Scotland and France had me hooked. I went on to help direct the large-scale fluxgate gradiometer survey on the interior of Silchester Roman Town as part of my Undergraduate degree.

Later, I worked for The British School at Rome, conducting geophysical surveys in Italy, Spain and Libya before taking a position at Wessex Archaeology as a commercial Terrestrial Geophysicist. In the summer of 2008 I became the Project Officer of The Silchester Mapping Project.

Over the last year I have gained a Masters Degree in Archaeological Prospection at Bradford University and am currently studying for a PhD on the effects of moisture variation and seasonality on the detection properties of resistivity and hyper-spectral measurements over known archaeological features (as part of the DART project).

Co-opted to this post: 29 Nov 2010; first elected 23 Sept 2011.

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Treasurer - Chris Leech

Chris graduated with a BSc in geophysics and has been actively involved in the shallow geophysics industry for 25 years. He has carried out geophysical surveys of all types in Africa, India, Australia as well as the UK and mainland Europe. He has expertise in magnetic, seismic, EM and resistivity methods.

Chris is currently a director of Geomatrix Earth Science and is an active member of EAGE and EEGS; he is also secretary of EIGG, a sub-group of the Geological Society of London. Recently he has been involved with testing of a Multi Sensor Platform for geophysical survey at Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire, UK.

First co-opted to this post: 13 Sept 2003.

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Auditor - Rob Vernon

Rob Vernon was born in Liverpool in 1945. He graduated in 1969 with a BSc (Hons) in geology from London University. Between 1969 and 1993 he held a variety of senior posts as a geologist in the British coal industry (deep mines), where he became familiar with downhole geophysical logging and seismic surveying. After leaving the coal industry, Rob gained an MSc in Archaeological Prospection in 1995, from the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford where he continued to conduct part-time research on the geophysical responses produced by British smelting sites. He was awarded a PhD in 2004. He has published various papers on his PhD topic and is currently researching the early history of geophysical prospection in Britain. Rob is also a Chartered Geologist, a Chartered Scientist and is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London.

Rob's other interest is mining history. He has co-written a series of books on the lead mining history of the Conway Valley and the Llanengan area in North Wales. He is also involved with the National Association of Mining History Organisations and has edited three editions of their handbook. Rob will be presenting a paper on the 'early history of geophysical prospection' at the International Mining History Congress, Bhubaneswar, India in December 2007.

First co-opted to this post: 13 Sept 2003.

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Last updated on 25 December 2012
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Copyright ©  Armin Schmidt
A.Schmidt@Bradford.ac.uk