What is Geophys?; Ħagar Qim, Malta; Coudenberg Palace (Koudenberg Palace).

What is Geophys?

Geophys is sort for a geophysical survey. It is where archaeologists can see what lies under the ground without actually digging.

Before the technology was around for geophys, archaeologists had to guess at what may lay under the ground and they spent many extra hours researching, checking, double checking and planning on where they would dig.

There are three types of geophysical survey equipment that can be used; resistivity, magnetrometry and ground penetrating radar (GPR).

Resistivity – This is when a pair of electrons send a current into the ground while the person doing the survey is walking the area to be covered, in straight lines (called a transect). Once the data is collected it is loaded onto a computer and  a 3D map can be made.

Magnetometry – This method works by measuring the natural magnetic field of an area. Archaeological remains can upset the areas magnetic field and therefore making them detectable. A good example are clay pots.

Magnetometry ©Wiki Commons
©Wiki Commons

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) – This method can measure the depth of archaeological remains. Radar signals are sent into the ground and they bounce off any finds that may be down there. Does not work too well in thick, clay soils but does work great in sandy areas.

GPR Results ©Wiki Commons
GPR Results
©Wiki Commons

All of the above methods are used in archaeology as sites are found in all different types of soil and sandy areas throughout the world. Large areas can be covered when you have more than one person walking at a time. You really have to love walking to do this job!!

Archaeology Wow!! –  Ħagar Qim, Malta

Ħagar Qim is a megalithic temple complex built of limestone and found on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. It’s name means Worshiping or Standing Stones. It was first explored in 1839 by Sir Henry Bouverie of the Royal Engineers.

Ħagar Qim Temple ©Wiki Commons
Ħagar Qim Temple
©Wiki Commons

The temple complex was built between 3600 and 3200 BC, during the Maltese archaeological period Tarxien.

Ħagar Qim Map ©Wiki Commons
Ħagar Qim Map
©Wiki Commons

The main temple has a trilithon entrance, a forecourt, oval chambers leading from the forecourt and large walls. There are four other enclosures which have their own entrance separate from the main one.

Ħagar Qim ©Wiki Commons
Ħagar Qim
©Wiki Commons

It is understood that the site was built in 3 phases and used for ritualistic practices, animal sacrifices and other offerings to the Gods. Statues of fertility goddesses have been found at the site and can be seen at the National Museum of Archaeology of Malta, in Valletta.

In 1992 the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.


      • Brockman. N. 2011. Encyclopaedia of Sacred Places. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
      • Malkowski> E. F. 2010. Before the Pharaohs: Egypt’s Mysterious Prehistory. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. Bear & Co.
      • Malone. C., & Barrowclough. D. 2010. Cult in Context: Reconsidering Ritual in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books.


Archaeological Site Guide – Coudenberg Palace (Koudenberg Palace)

Coudenberg Palace, also known as Koudenberg Palace, was situated in what is now Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. It’s name means Cold Hill. 

Coudenberg Palace ©Wiki Commons
Coudenberg Palace
©Wiki Commons
  • 1100 – The palace started its life as a fort, built by the Counts of Leuvan and Brussels,  around which the first wall enclosing Brussels was built.
  • c.1356 – The site was transformed from a fort into a luxury palace by Louis II of Flanders.
  • 1430 – New building wings were added by Phillip the Good, who had inherited the site.
  • 1515 – Charles van Habsberg was handed the Low Countries of the region by Margaret of Austria, at the palace.
  • 1555 – Charles V abdicated and handed his crown to his son, King Phillip II of Spain.
  • 17th century – The buildings were improved and a new façade added.
  • 1731 – The palace burnt down after a fire started in the kitchen area. Only the chapel survived.
  • 1744 – The remaining ruins were pulled down and replaced by The Royal Square, by Charles Alexander of Lorraine.
Map of Coudenberg Palace and Grounds ©Wiki Commons
Map of Coudenberg Palace and Grounds
©Wiki Commons

The archaeological remains of the palace survive underground and include the old cellars, warehouse space that was under the chapel, and the rooms that once stood below the main banqueting hall.

Remains from the Original Palace ©Wiki Commons
Remains from the Original Palace
©Wiki Commons

You can take tours of the remaining underground areas. Now there’s an idea for the school holidays if you are in or near Brussels!!


      • Cook. B. A. 2002. Belgium: A History. Berne and Pieterlen, Switzerland: Peter Lang Publishers.
      • Coudenberg Former Palace of Brussels. http://www.coudenberg.com/en/prepare-your-visit/presentation#.U74D6vmSyFU
      • Holmes. G. 1992. The Oxford History of Medieval Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
      • State. P. F. 2004. Historical Dictionary of Brussels. New Jersey: Scarecrow Press.

Great Books to Read…….

Great Web Pages to Look At…….

 Activity –  

2 Comments on “What is Geophys?; Ħagar Qim, Malta; Coudenberg Palace (Koudenberg Palace).

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