Geophysics Special Interest Group (GeoSIG)

GeoSIG logo


Members of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and the wider archaeological geophysical community have come together to form the CIfA Geophysics Special Interest Group (GeoSIG). Open to both CIfA members for free and to non-CIfA members for a small fee. The GeoSIG represents the interests of archaeological geophysicists to CIfA and in the Institute's activities.

The role of GeoSIG is to

  • act as a focus for CIfA members interested in geophysics
  • produce documents and guidelines relating to geophysical work
  • promote geophysical work constructively within the structure of archaeology

GeoSIG is working closely with ISAP, NSGG, and EuroGPR to ensure that we keep up to date with developments in the wider geophysical community. The committee also has close links with the Near Surface committee of EAGE.

Email the committee at ifageosig [at]

Join the Group

Membership is free to CIfA members.Non-members can join by PayPal



The GeoSIG committee comprises of:

Lucy Parker (formally Learmonth) (Chair)
Ed Burton (Secretary)
Andrew Hutt (Treasurer)
Mark Whittingham (OCM)
Simon Haddrell (OCM)
John Walford (OCM)
Sam Harrison (OCM)
Graham Arkley (OCM)
Finn Pope-Carter (OCM co-opted).

Advisory/liaison members:
Matt Guy (NSGG](
Paul Linford - HE & ISAP liaison
Alastair Ruffell - Forensic Archaeology group liaison

There are representatives from ISAP, [, EuroGPR, EAGE and Historic England, and plans to include representatives from ALGAO, Cadw, Historic Scotland and NIEA

Find us on Social Media

Twitter -

Specialist competence matrix

We have recently introduced specialist competence matrices, which have been compiled by our CIfA special interest groups and are tailored to their specific areas. These are to assist applicants and the Validation committee to see where you demonstrate the grade applied for.

Forthcoming events

Watch this space

Previous events

AGM 2019

12:00-16:00 Monday 10 June 2019 (AGM followed by Committee Meeting, at The Briar Rose, Birmingham B2 5RE. The AGM agenda is available here and included membership numbers, financials and voting to fill any spaces on the committee. The committee meeting included items that had been raised and focused on the questionnaires the group had been working on with the archaeological community to inform our revised guidance and putting together a project plan to move forward.

Our role is to act as a focus for CIfA members interested in geophysics, produce guidelines and promote geophysical work within archaeology. The group is involved in setting standards, improving careers and promoting best practice within the field of Archaeological Geophysics.

Conference Session: CIfA2019 Archaeology: values, benefits, and legacies

24 to 26 April 2019, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds


During the CIfA 2019 GeoSIG “Archaeological Geophysics: Why do we do it? Is it done well? Does it matter” session, Mark Whittingham (GeoSIG OCM / Phase Site Investigations Ltd) presented “Why aren’t we doing it like this?” to kick off the session. As part of his paper, Mark put together a questionnaire for attendees to ascertain where we are and where the archaeological sector thinks we should be. GeoSIG would like to use the responses to help formulate our forthcoming updated advice. We have provided a digital copy for those who were unable to attend or who missed out on returning their questionnaire on the day. Please return your response by 12/05/2019 to ifageosig [at]

Organiser(s): Mark Whittingham (Phase Site Investigations Ltd) & Lucy Parker (Wessex Archaeology) Both (CIfA Geophysics Special Interest Group)

Contact (s): markw [at] / l.parker [at]

Over the coming year CIfA’s Geophysics Special Interest Group (GeoSIG) will be updating the standard and guidance for archaeological geophysical survey to bring it in line with current techniques, methodology and best practice. Before the guidance is completed we want to consult with the wider archaeological community to find out what the current perception of archaeological geophysics is. Do archaeologists think that generally they are up to date with methodologies and techniques? If they do think they are is this actually true?! If not, what can we do about it?

We also want to find out what the end user hopes to gain from a survey. Are they getting what they want (in terms of quality and results) and critically could they get more? Is the wider archaeological community able to recognise a good or bad geophysical survey and if not what we can we do to show / inform them?

Our discussion seminar session will give an opportunity for papers to be presented that highlight current methodologies, techniques and data quality. The session will also allow for detailed discussion on the role of geophysics and best practice. This will hopefully give feedback that will be invaluable in compiling updated guidance that not only informs but is relevant to both practitioners and end users of geophysical surveys.

See the flyer for more information

AGM 2018

12:00-16:00 Monday 16 April 2018, Room 15203, Aspect Court Building, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB

The afternoon included the AGM (including nominations for committee), a committee meeting (open to all attendees) and a guest speaker, Dinah Saich (Principal Archaeologist for South Yorkshire Archaeology Service) who gave a short presentation on how geophysics fits into the planning process and upcoming development projects of potential interest in the area over the next couple of years.
AGM Agenda 16 April 2018
Committee meeting agenda 16 April 2018

Talking 'bout my generation - Early career archaeological Geophysicists session

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologist’s (CIfA) Geophysics (GeoSIG) and New Generation groups held an afternoon session at the International Conference of Archaeological Prospection (ICAP), University of Bradford. The aim was provide to a forum to discuss how to begin a career in commercial archaeological geophysics, plus CPD training to improve delegates’ employability. For more information, click here.

AGM in January 2017

AGM held on 12 January. Requesting contributions to keep the group active and were seeking a Chair, Secretary and Ordinary committee members to contribute to the work of the GeoSIG.

We had identified a number of key initiatives that we really wanted to see come to fruition over the following 12-18 months and was requesting help and support from those with the experience and passion for archaeological geophysics to help realise these ambitions:

(a) Data Archiving

To improve multiple issues regarding archiving digital data including with ADS.

(b) Technical Papers

To remove and/or replace the current geophysics Technical Paper.

(c) Standards and Guidance

To update and improve the Standards & Guidance with particular regard to confidentiality issues, changes in technology and specifications.

(e) Health and Safety

To provide information/advice on H&S with particular regard to unique hazards encountered by geophysical surveyors.

(f) Communications

To regularly communicate with members and seek wide input to proposed documentation changes etc.

If you would like to know more about the committee and their aims please get in touch via groups [at]

**If you are interested in putting yourself forward please email groups [at]

CIfA GeoSIG/ADS workshop

At the end of 2016 GeoSIG held a workshop in conjunction with ADS on the archiving of geophysical data. As part of that event the participants were split into small groups and each took it in turns to write down their responses to the following 5 "seed" questions from both ADS and GeoSIG:

  1. As a data creator, what do I want a digital archive to do for me?
  2. As a data user, what do I want a digital archive to do for me?
  3. Are there any useful tools or guidance on archiving available? If not, what would you like to see created?
  4. The main difficulties I face when it comes to archiving are…
  5. Who drives the archiving of your data (i.e. you / management / outside influences) and how much of that data do you archive rather than back-up?

A spreadsheet of the unedited responses was compiled - these were written up directly from the group notes made on the day. There were a number of actions to come out of the day which the group worked on enacting. The most immediate task was be a poll to determine the spread of survey sizes undertaken in the UK over the last couple of years. This information was expected to be key to helping ADS evolve the submission process for geophysical datasets.

Archiving Workshop

CIfA GeoSIG & ADS jointly hosted an archiving workshop on 27 November 2015 focused specifically on data archiving for geophysics using the ADS services. Louisa Matthews (ADS Collections Development Manager) and Ray Moore (ADS-easy Manager and Lead Digital Archivist) gave presentations focused on the ADS system whilst GeoSIG committee members also attended to contribute to round-table discussions.

  • Seminar - A one day seminar on Geophysics was hosted with ALGAO on November 2010. Some of the presentations from the day can be downloaded below

AGM minutes

Committee meeting Minutes

Business plan

Business plan 2017 - 2022


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