Revised 23 / 06 / 2004ALLOWABLE BEARING CAPACITYOF SHALLOW FOUNDATIONSBASED ON SHEAR WAVE VELOCITYSemih S. Tezcan 1, Ali Keceli 2, Zuhal Ozdemir 3ABSTRACTFirstly, the historical background is presented for the determination of ultimate bearing capacity of shallow foundations. The principles of plastic equilibrium used in the classical formulation of the ultimate bearing capacity are reviewed, followed by a discussion about the sources of approximations inherent in the classical theory. Secondly, based on a variety of case histories of site investigations, including extensive bore hole data, laboratory testing and geophysical prospecting, an empirical formulation is proposed for the determination of allowable bearing capacity of shallow foundations. The proposed expression corroborates consistently with the results of the classical theory and is proven to be reliable and safe, also from the view point of maximum allowable settlements. It consists of only two soil parameters, namely, the insitu measured shear wave velocity, and the unit weight. The unit weight may be also determined with sufficient accuracy, by means of another empirical expression, using the P-wave velocity. It is indicated that once the shear and P-wave velocities are measured insitu by an appropriate geophysical survey, the allowable bearing capacity is determined reliably through a single step operation. Such an approach, is considerably cost and time-saving, in practice.