A successful and efficient archaeological excavation campaign requires a high resolution seismic imaging approach to resolve small scale near surface structures. The resolution of classical first arrival traveltime tomography (FATT) is limited by the first Fresnel zone, while the inversion of surface wave dispersion spectra requires a (local) 1D medium approximation, a significant problem in 2D heterogeneous media. To overcome these limitations, we introduce in this study the seismic SH full waveform inversion (FWI) of the Love- and refracted SH-wavefield as promising archaeogeophysical prospection tool. The applicability of this approach is demonstrated for SH field data from the transect over a medieval canal structure in southern Germany. Compared to FATT, the FWI is able to improve the definition of the canal shape and resolves small scale structures within the canal. These features are qualitatively compared with sub-surface structures revealed by an archaeological excavation along the SH profile.


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