Miguel Ángel Cau Ontiveros

Universitat de Barcelona

The Roman city of Pollentia (Alcúdia, Mallorca) has reached in 2023 a hundred years of archaeological investigation. Within the framework of the current research project a geophysical survey has been undertaken in this important Mediterranean ancient city.

An extensive magnetic survey has been carried out combined with ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electric resistivity imaging (ER Imaging) to obtain data for a better understanding of the ancient city. For magnetic measurements, the 7-probe fluxgate gradiometer array was used. The GPR data were collected using a system equipped with two dual-frequency antenna boxes of 200 and 600 MHz, respectively.

The step from the geophysical investigation of isolated spots to an approach of complete coverage has resulted in significant progress in the archaeological investigation of the site of Pollentia. The ancient street network and

several insulae can largely be reconstructed based on the magnetic data. This large-scale magnetic approach combined with a progressive coverage of the most promising areas with GPR offers a good strategy to deal with the geophysics of entire cities. The data proved the existence of a mostly regular street grid and dense building structures, especially north and west of

the Forum. The continuation of the regularly developed ancient city towards the south could also be confirmed. However, a distinct northern limit of the city area was not evident in the data. In the area northwest of the Forum and south of Sa Portella, a quarter of remarkably high magnetic anomalies caused by ovens, kilns or the remains of a destructive fire could be detected. It covers an area of almost 3,000 m2.

In short, the comprehensive geophysical of Pollentia has helped to gain insight into the urbanism of this important city of the Balearic Islands.

  • Reference/s:
    Cau-Ontiveros MÁ, Mas-Florit C, Chávez-Álvarez E, Sala R, Meyer C, Ortiz H & Simón P 2023, ‘Comprehensive geophysical prospection of the Roman and Late Antique city of Pollentia (Spain)’, Archaeological Prospection, vol. 30, nº.4, pp. 411-427.