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Archaeomagnetic Dating

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Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

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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Correspondence to Cathy Batt B.Sc., Ph.D. MInstP CPhys .

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Batt, C. (2013). Archaeomagnetic Dating. In: Rink, W., Thompson, J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_11-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_11-1

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