Geophysical Survey

Specialist Services

AMS offers a range of geophysical survey services that utilise the most advanced technologies and state-of-the-art equipment to locate and map subsurface archaeological remains. Typically deployed at pre-planning and design stage, geophysics helps our clients to minimise archaeological risk to project schedules and enhance confidence in the successful delivery of development projects.

Operating across Ireland and mainland Europe, our dedicated survey team provides magnetometry, earth resistance, electromagnetic induction, ground penetrating radar and metal detection surveys.

Central to our approach is the implementation of high-resolution survey instruments that are capable of mapping extensive areas in the most rapid and cost-effective manner. Data are collected using both hand-pushed and ATV-pulled systems that combine geophysical survey technology with centimetre-precision GPS. This strategy produces a highly detailed dataset that gives the utmost clarity to any archaeological features detected. The survey results can complement and inform other investigative techniques such as test excavation to fully evaluate the archaeological potential of any site.

Our surveyors have a wealth of geophysical expertise and can advise on the most appropriate geophysical methods and survey strategies to meet the requirements of any project.


This technique measures variations in the magnetic properties of soils and is widely used in geophysical prospection due to its ability to detect and map a broad range of subsurface archaeological remains, including ditches and pits as well as burnt or fired features.

Earth Resistance

This technique measures variations in the moisture content of the soil and can identify and map buried stone features (such as walls and roadways) and silted-up ditches.

Ground Penetrating Radar (3D-GPR)

GPR is generally used for the detection of building foundations and burial remains and records the two-way travel time of electromagnetic energy transmitted from the surface through the underlying soil.

Electromagnetic Induction (EMI)

EMI simultaneously measures the quadrature (conductivity) and in-phase (magnetic susceptibility) components of a soil volume, allowing for the detection of infilled features such as ditches and pits, as well as structural remains such as buried foundations. This technique can detect archaeological features to a depth of 3.2m.

Apparent conductivity (1m HCP) measurements at the edge of an enclosure complex

Apparent magnetic susceptibility (1m HCP) measurements over part of a building complex

Metal Detection

Deployed as part of initial site assessments, metal detection is an effective method of investigation used to identify and map metallic objects in the topsoil, including archaeological artefacts. Our experienced detectorists use advanced equipment and operate under special licences from the Government in line with legal requirements.

Metal detection survey in progress

Other Specialist Services