Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 725–741 | Cite as

Archaeomagnetic versus luminescence methods: the case of an Early Byzantine ceramic workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece

  • Elina AidonaEmail author
  • George S. Polymeris
  • Pierre Camps
  • Despina Kondopoulou
  • Nikos Ioannidis
  • Konstantinos Raptis
Original Paper


In this contribution, we present a combined archaeomagnetic and luminescence study of archaeologically dated structures. The investigated area is a ceramic workshop comprising several Early Byzantine kilns. Based on (a) the archaeological–anthropogenic stratigraphy of the site, (b) the structural characteristics of the kilns and (c) the few ceramic findings revealed within their context, the operation of this brick and tile factory is approximately dated between the middle of the fifth century until the first decades of the sixth century AD. Three of the well-preserved workshop kilns have been studied archaeomagnetically. The full vector of the geomagnetic field, accompanied by rock magnetic analyses of the studied material, has been defined. The archaeomagnetic study revealed similar directions among the three kilns indicating and confirming their contemporary use. Additionally, several luminescence measurements were obtained on material from the same kilns. The dating of the site was performed with both methods. The archaeomagnetic dating is convergent with the archaeological estimation only when its upper limit is considered. Concerning the luminescence dating, the calculated ages (corrected for anomalous fading and for the 40K content) with their standard deviations are convergent with the archaeological estimations for the first kiln, while for the other two, the results seem to be incompatible. The possible factors that provoked this divergence are thoroughly discussed.


Archaeomagnetic dating Luminescence dating Byzantine kilns Greece 



The access to the excavation was ensured by the authorization of the ninth Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities at that time, now Ephorate of the City of Thessaloniki. Dr. Sofia Akrivopoulou and Mrs. Poly Antoniadou are warmly thanked for providing field assistance and valuable information on the excavation. The authors would like to thank Prof. George Kitis for providing access to the TL infrastructures at the Nuclear Physics Laboratory of Physics Department at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Prof. Eleni Pavlidou is acknowledged for performing the SEM-EDX measurements. Finally, the authors would like to thank Prof. R. Scholger (University of Leoben) and Dr. F. Lagroix (IPGP, Universite Paris VII) for allowing access to their lab in order to obtain the anisotropy measurements and the thermomagnetic analysis, respectively. E.A. acknowledges the Erasmus Training Project for supporting her training on the MSP-DSC protocol at the Géosciences Montpellier. The work performed at the Géosciences Montpellier was supported by a grant from the CNRS-PNP. The FUReMAG rapid furnace construction was supported by the French National Agency for Research (ANR-12-BS06-0015). The manuscript has benefited from the valuable comments of Dr. S. Spassov and an anonymous reviewer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elina Aidona
    • 1
    Email author
  • George S. Polymeris
    • 2
  • Pierre Camps
    • 3
  • Despina Kondopoulou
    • 1
  • Nikos Ioannidis
    • 1
  • Konstantinos Raptis
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, School of GeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Nuclear SciencesUniversity of AnkaraAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Geosciences MontpellierCNRS and University MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  4. 4.Ephorate of Antiquities of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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