A challenging archaeo-geophysical exploration through GPR and ERT surveys on the Keber Tepe, City Hill of Doliche, Commagene (Gaziantep, SE Turkey)

BALKAYA Ç., Ekinci Y. L., ÇAKMAK O., Blömer M., Arnkens J., Kaya M. A.

Journal of Applied Geophysics, vol.186, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 186
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2021.104272
  • Journal Name: Journal of Applied Geophysics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), INSPEC
  • Keywords: Doliche, Commagene, Archaeo-geophysics, Ground-penetrating radar, Electrical resistivity tomography
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021Doliche is an ancient city located at the northern fringe of Gaziantep in SE Turkey. The settlement spreads over a shallow hill called Keber Tepe. However, the lack of visible remains on the surface severely limits the comprehension of the spatial organization of the site. To understand the ancient city layout, but also to identify promising starting points of archaeological investigations, geophysical exploration plays a substantial role. In 2019 and 2020 campaigns, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys were conducted to determine anthropogenic structures in selected three study areas (SA) of the hill. Among them, SA-1 is adjacent to an excavation area on the south slope of the hill, where a large three-aisled Christian basilica had been discovered. SA-2 is in the eastern part of the city area, next to a sizeable civic bath building of the Roman period. Lastly, SA-3 covers the mosaic floor of the central nave and the terrace of the basilica where archaeological excavations were carried out in 2020 compaign. Archaeo-geophysical survey presented a challenging task as Keber Tepe is mainly composed of clayish-limestone and the same material had been used for architectural construction. Despite the disadvantages, GPR provided partial traces of the nave walls conforming with the existing basilica structures. The archaeological trenchs conducted in SA-3 confirm the partial reflection properties observed in the GPR sections. ERT surveys in this area provided subsurface models containing traces of anthropogenic structures unearthed. Since the findings obtained from both methods support each other very well in SA-2, we assumed that the field condition in this region of the hill is different or buried materials have lesser clay content in comparison to SA-1 and SA-3. As a result, the archaeo-geophysical survey contributed to the understanding of the archaeological structures and help to identify promising areas for further archaeological excavations.