Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

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

Archaeomagnetic Dating

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

Definition

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.

Introduction

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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeological SciencesUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK