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Electromagnetic and ultrasonic investigations on a Roman marble slab


The archaeological museum of Rome asked our group about the physical consistency of a marble slab (second to third century AD) that recently fell during its travel as part of an exhibition. We decided to use different methodologies to investigate the slab: namely a pacometer (Protovale Elcometer) to individuate the internal coupling pins, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) (2000 MHz) and ultrasonic (55 kHz) tomographic high-density surveys to investigate the internal extension of all the visible fractures and to search for the hidden ones. For the ultrasonic data, tests were carried out to optimize the inversion parameters, in particular the cell dimensions. The choice of cell size for the inversion process must take into account the size of the acquisition grid and the ray number acquired. We proposed to calculate a minimum Fresnel’s radius using the sampling frequency instead of that of the probes. For every methodology used, the quality of the acquired data was relatively high. This was then processed and compared to provide information that was useful for some of the insurance problems of the museum. Later on, the data was processed in depth to see how to improve the data processing and interpretation. Finally, the results of this in-depth study were exposed in detail. Ultrasonic and GPR tomographies show a strong correlation, and in particular, the inhomogeneous areas are located in correspondence to the slab injuries.