Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

2015 Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen W. Thompson

Archaeomagnetic Dating

  • Cathy BattEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6304-3_11


Archaeomagnetic dating is the study of the past geomagnetic field as recorded by archaeological materials and the interpretation of this information to date past events.


Archaeomagnetic dating is a method for dating fired materials and sediments from archaeological sites, based on their preserved magnetic remanence. The principles of the method can be summarized as follows:
  • The geomagnetic field changes significantly on archaeologically relevant timescales of decades and centuries (Tarling, 1983, p. 145).

  • Some archaeological materials contain magnetized particles, and certain events cause the geomagnetic field at a particular moment in time to be recorded by these particles.

  • This recorded magnetization can be measured in the laboratory.

  • By comparing the recorded magnetization with a dated record of changes in the geomagnetic field with time, the event which caused the recording can be dated.

The application of archaeomagnetic dating is restricted in time and...

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeological SciencesUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK