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Investigating Pre-Columbian Ceremonial Features at El Caño Archaeological Site, Panama, through Geophysical SurveysNormal access

Authors: A. Mojica, M. Lezcano, J. González, J. Thiesson, L. Pastor, C. Camerlynck, N. Florsch, A. Tabbagh and R. Vanhoeserlande
Event name: Near Surface Geoscience 2014 - 20th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics
Session: Geophysics for Archaeology & Geoarchaeology - Poster Session
Publication date: 08 September 2014
DOI: 10.3997/2214-4609.20141971
Organisations: EAGE
Language: English
Info: Extended abstract, PDF ( 2.69Mb )
Price: € 20

Between 2005 and 2006, a series of magnetic and electrical surveys were conducted over the site El Caño, one of the most important pre-Columbian ceremonial site of the Isthmus of Panama (Central America). This site, of 3.4 ha in area presents a set of alignment of columns of carved basalts and tuff and mounds, with a first organized occupation between 100 and 400 BC. Today, these surveys have been extended to electromagnetic prospecting with the aim of identify with accurately the spatiotemporal organization of the site, funeral archaeological features of the mounds and surrounding. Integration and interpretation of the geophysical data allowed us to identify a set of circular magnetic anomalies in the base of mounds due to the strong runoff during the rainy season and topography, but in the base the runoff is weak (by flatness) and infiltration is higher; these results explain the difference between the calculated resistivity values obtained inside and outside of these mounds through electrical resistivity tomographies. Another larger circular magnetic anomaly was identified in the flatness southeast zone of the mounds; this result allowed the discovery of one of the most important pre-Columbian funerary complex in Panama.

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