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 rapid determination of the allowable bearing capacity of shallow foundations. The proposed expression corroborates consistently with the results of the classical theory and is proven to be rapid, reliable and safe. It consists of only two soil parameters, namely the in situ measured shear wave velocity, and the unit weight. The unit weight may also be 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 in situ by an appropriate geophysical survey, the allowable bearing pressure, as well as the coefficient of subgrade reaction and many other elasticity parameters, may be determined rapidly and reliably.