International Thematic Network PROSPECT


PROSPECT is an International Thematic Network, funded by Ghent University, with the objective of strengthening existing excellence on the main theme of Archaeological Prospection.

Archaeological prospection entails detecting, characterizing and evaluating evidence for past human activities and environmental interaction. More than a technical toolset, it encourages holistic understanding of the archaeological record, revealing how soils and vegetation are impacted over time by past communities. By allowing to identify, investigate and understand the diversity of the alterations of the physical environment and material remains of the human past, archaeological prospection encourages us to think broadly about the long-term impacts of our current actions. Advanced visualization techniques enable making this evidence clear and compelling, while facilitating sustainable access to global cultural heritage.


Through its unique and explicit focus on assessing exhaustible, buried cultural resources, archaeological prospection is established internationally as a driving force in sustainable heritage exploration, management and promotion internationally at multiple levels. Consequently, it is aligned with the primary societal and cultural motives (Cluster 2) of the Horizon Europe programme. The relevance of integrated prospection approaches is to surpass short-term mitigation strategies due to increased pressure on the archaeological resource.

Finetuning archaeological prospection by integrating novel sensor technologies, computational methods and traditional archaeological practice enables us to tap into unknown aspects of past human lifeways, while providing a means to conserve and share, otherwise lost, heritage digitally.

PROSPECT intends to assemble diverse international expertise on archaeological prospection and associated disciplines, ranging from earth and data sciences to archaeological theory and heritage studies, to instil a shift towards a more integral investigation of the archaeological record coupled with a richer more sustainable use of the results of archaeological work through new modes of communication and engagement with these data.

As its primary aim, the network strives to foster continuous research development improving the international community’s use of these methods, and change stagnant governance traditions that hinge on archaeological prospecting. Our network aims to realise such shifts by optimising combinations of methods and datatypes to increase the scientific and socio-economic revenue of archaeological practice.

Long term goals

The network aims to create enduring, stimulating environments for research, education and valorization on archaeological prospection:

by building a diverse resource for education and stakeholder training.

by emphasising interdisciplinary design and development of research.

by making concrete societal and economic impacts through close interaction with stakeholder organisations.

Combined, the focus integrating of state-of-the art technology, long-standing traditional methods and fundamental archaeological as well as historical frameworks, PROSPECT aims position itself complementary to existing international networks (e.g. ALI, AARG, ISAP,…), which are included as stakeholders.

Adding to long-term impacts through research, education and outreach, this unique starting point provides an opportunity to merge diverse interests and expertise into a sustainable, independent network (preferably as a non-profit organisation).

Thematic Working Groups

Survey Strategy

Data fusion


Heritage under threat





Ghent University-Department of Environment

Philippe De Smedt Spokesperson

Ellen Van De Vijver Core group member
Jeroen Verhegge Network coordinator

Ghent University-Department of Archaeology

Wim De Clercq Core group member

Lieven Verdonck Core group member

Ghent University-Department of Geology

Thomas Hermans Core group member

Flinders University-Department of History and Archaeology

Ian Moffat Partner

Norwegian University of Science and Technology-Department of Archaeology and Cultural History

Carmen Cuenca-Garcia Partner

Institute for Mediterranean Studies Foundation for Research & Technology Hellas-Lab of Geophysical-Remote Sensing & Archaeoenvironment

Nikos Papadopoulos Partner

University of Vienna-Vienna Institute for Archaeological Sciences

Immo Trinks Partner

Kiel University-Institute of Geoscience

Wolfgang Rabbel Partner

Dennis Wilken Partner

Bente Sven Majchczack Partner
Tina Wunderlich

Utrecht University

-Research Institute for History and Art History

Gertjan Plets Partner

Leiden University-Digital Archaeology Group

Karsten Lambers Partner

Liège University-Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering

Frederic Nguyen Partner

University of Glasgow-Department of Archaeology

Rachel Opitz Partner

Cambridge University-Department of Archaeology

Stefania Merlo Partner

Charles French Partner
Lieven Verdonck Core group member

University of Birmingham-Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

Henry Chapman Partner

Bournemouth University-Department of Archaeology & Anthropology

Mark Gillings Partner

Kate Welham Partner

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Laboratoire Archéorient

Christophe Benech Partner

Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology-Landscape Archaeology Research Team

Hector Orengo Partner

Binghamton University State University of New York-Geophysics and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Timothy De Smet Partner

INRAP-Laboratory Chrono-Environment Scientific and Technical Department

François-Xavier Simon Partner

University of Cyprus-Department of History and Archaeology

 Apostolos Sarris Partner

University of Groningen-Groningen institute of archaeology

Daan Raemaekers Partner

Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands-Department of Archaeology

Eelco Rensink Partner

Walloon Heritage Agency

Dominique Bosquet Partner

HoGent University of Applied Sciences
and Arts-Department of Built Environment

Cornelis Stal Partner

University College Dublin-School of Archaeology

Stephen Davis Partner



Aerial Archaeology Research Group

ArcLand International

European Association of Archaeologists-Archaeological Prospection Community

Europae Archaeologiae Consilium-Remote Sensing Working Group & Rural Land use Working Group

International Society for Archaeological Prospection

Vlaamse Ondernemers in Archeologie

Vlaamse Landmaatschappij