A fast and efficient subsurface radar imaging procedure, based on a multi-channel cart system, has been developed and tested within the framework of a large-scale archaeological investigation project in northern Italy. The tested cart comprises 14 closely-spaced dipoles, rotated by 45° with respect to the dragging direction, and allows unidirectional scanning operations. Using this approach, an area of approximately 75 000m2 was surveyed daytime via recording of a dense grid of about 490km of radar profiles. Geo-referencing of the scanning trajectories was achieved operating a separate on-board differential Global Positioning System in real-time kinematic mode. In this configuration the final positioning error of the radar sweeps was less than 0.05m. The large amount of collected data, of the order of tens of GBytes, was processed, using an open-source software package, on a workstation-based environment. A set of specific codes was developed to fully automate the data processing and the image generation procedure. Critical steps during code development were the integration of positioning and radar data, the referencing of the single radar sweeps and the correction for changes in the spectral amplitude of the different channels. The processed data volume displays high signal coherency and reveals several well-defined reflectors, clearly visible both on vertical profiles and horizontal time slices. The plan of the Roman settlement could be revealed in detail proving the potential of the tested approach for assisting high-resolution archaeological investigations of large areas.
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