Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Green Waste and Archaeological Geophysics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor James GerrardORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper aims to raise awareness of a significant and developing challenge for archaeological geophysics. The widespread use of fertilizers and soil conditioners derived from so-called ‘green waste’ (biodegradable and organic materials) is becoming commonplace and the diversion of this waste from landfill is widely perceived as having numerous environmental benefits. Unfortunately these environmental benefits on the macro-scale are having a negative impact on the historic environment at the micro-scale. Ferrous contaminants within 'green waste' are having a serious impact on archaeological geophysics using the principles of magnetism. This paper discusses how the spreading of 'green waste' on a field in Somerset masked and obscured archaeological anomalies in a survey carried out using a fluxgate gradiometer. The paper calls for tighter regulation of green waste and research on how its impact on the historic environment can be mitigated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gerrard J, Caldwell L, Kennedy A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archaeological Prospection

Year: 2015

Volume: 22

Issue: 2

Pages: 139-142

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 16/02/2015

Acceptance date: 29/12/2014

Date deposited: 10/06/2015

ISSN (print): 1075-2196

ISSN (electronic): 1099-0763

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/arp.1503


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric