Archaeomagnetic dating


01-Jan-2020 04:01

The principles of the method are well established; see Linford (2006) and Zananiri et al. It has been used in Scotland from 1967 (Aitken and Hawley 1967) and is increasingly part of multi-method site chronologies.The strengths of archaeomagnetic dating are that it dates fired clay and stone, for example hearths, kilns, ovens and furnaces, which occur frequently on archaeological sites; it dates the last use of features, providing a clear link to human activity; it is cost effective and is potentially most precise in periods where other dating methods, e.g. Archaeomagnetic dating is based on a comparison of the ancient geomagnetic field, as recorded by archaeological materials, with a dated record of changes in the Earth’s field over time in a particular geographical area, referred to as a secular variation curve.When structures are repeatedly burnt, we can sometimes measure the date of separate burning episodes by sampling different fired layers.

However, as discussed below the precision of the date obtained will vary according to the period.When material such as clay or earth is heated to above 650 degrees Celsius (the Curie Point), such as in a hearth or kiln, the existing magnetism of iron particles in the soil is wiped clean and they are re-magnetised.



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