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The effectiveness of infrared thermography applied to the detection of abandoned land mines is not yet acceptable. It can probably be improved, however, by computerized processing of the thermal images. This requires reference data, which must be provided mainly by experiments. A method is presented here, by which the heating and cooling cycles of a soil with a buried land mine can be replicated with reduced size and duration. The reference data acquired in the laboratory can be associated to realistic on-field tests by simply stretching the space and time scales. This will permit to reproduce indoors, quickly and effortlessly, the outdoor conditions of any place where the detection of buried land mines must be performed. In this paper, the general thermal problem is described, and the proposed method is comprehensively explained. The results of computer simulations and some laboratory tests are finally reported for validation.