Geophysical methods are relatively unknown to South African archaeologists, who for the most part rely on traditional excavation methods. Geophysical methods have been tested on a number of archaeological sites in the Northern Province of South Africa, with varying degrees of success. In general, deep weathering and conductive overburden mask buried structures from electrical or electromagnetic methods. The response-from the underlying geology also may overshadow the response from archaeological sources. Furthermore, many of the artifacts found in South African sites are smalI, and made of locally available materials and present little physical property contrast with their hosts. Nevertheless, the magnetic method has been used to detect the remains of old iron smelting works and to find evidence of early steel smelting in the Sand River Valley, and to locate building foundations and a waste dump in a 19th century Voortrekker town.


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