By using six 4.5Hz geophones, surface wave tests were performed on four different sites by dropping freely a 65kg mass from a height of 5m. The receivers were kept far away from the source to eliminate the arrival of body waves. Three different sources to nearest receiver distances (S), namely, 46m, 56m and 66m, were chosen. Dispersion curves were drawn for all the sites. The maximum wavelength (λmax), the maximum depth (dmax) up to which exploration can be made and the frequency content of the signals depends on the site stiffness and the value of S. A stiffer site yields greater values of λmax and dmax. For stiffer sites, an increase in S leads to an increase in λmax. The predominant time durations of the signals increase from stiffer to softer sites. An inverse analysis was also performed based on the stiffness matrix approach in conjunction with the maximum vertical flexibility coefficient of ground surface to establish the governing mode of excitation. For the Site 2, the results from the surface wave tests were found to compare reasonably well with that determined on the basis of cross boreholes seismic tests. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.