Walkover Survey

Walkover surveys are systematic examinations of sites to identify surface remains and landscape features.

Walkover Survey

Walkover surveys provide the opportunity to identify potential landscape features such as surface remains (e.g. objects, structures, tombstones, fences etc) and indicators that may indicate the presence of buried evidence (e.g. vegetation change, depressions etc), as well as any hazards or impediments that might affect later surveys.

They are often the first stage of investigations on site and they should be planned in advanced using sources (maps, photographs, plans and aerial images) obtained from pre-site research (known as Desk-Based Assessments (DBA)).

If features are identified during this stage, they are recorded in written, photographic and spatial terms, so they can be accurately documented using digital technologies such as GPS, Total Stations or laser scanners for example and further investigation can take place using geophysical tools if necessary. These surveys are systematically coordinated to ensure that all target areas are thoroughly examined.

Students locating matzevot fragments during walkover survey (© Centre of Archaeology, Staffordshire University)

Case Study: Wąwolnica Jewish Cemetery

In 2017, a walkover survey was undertaken at the Jewish cemetery in Wąwolnica, Poland (see image below). The main focus of the survey was to comprehensively record and document the remains of the cemetery. A systematic walkover survey was conducted over the entire area. This resulted in the discovery of matzevot (Hebrew term used to describe a grave headstone) and fragments that were previously unknown. These newly discovered matzevot were made visible by volunteers working with us on the project and then subsequently documented using laser scanning and photogrammetry.

Uncovering and documenting a matzevah fragment found during walkover survey (© Centre of Archaeology, Staffordshire University)

Learn more about our work in Wąwolnica Jewish Cemetery 

Our experts:

Janos Kerti

PhD researcher and archaeological assistant

About me
Janos Kerti