Archaeomagnetic dating english heritage
The project started in September 2002 and will run for 4 years.
Cathy Batt in the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, UK.
Such magnetic dating therefore depends on both the reliability of the sample observations and that of the known recorded direction and intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field during archaeological times.
Observatory measurements of the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field only commenced around 1600 AD, while intensity records only started in 1835 AD.
Consequently older dates depend on having available archaeomagnetic directional and intensity records from previous studies of well-dated archaeological sites.
This section is designed for an archaeologist with little or no previous experience of archaeomagnetism, but has, for example, found a burnt structure, such as a kiln or oven, and wishes to find out more about the archaeomagnetic technique. Many areas in the European Union (EU) are undergoing rapid economic expansion, inevitably involving the loss of our shared cultural heritage. Hence, it can be used for studies of the past geomagnetic field, but also as reliable dating tool for archaeological sites.However, these can be quite precise and are independent of the actual age.For example, Minoan destruction sites (LMIB) in central Crete have identical directions and ancient intensities as the ‘Minoan’ ash levels on Santorini, 120 km to the North, enabling the synchroneity of the events to be established within some 10-20 years some 3 500 years ago.
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This magnetisation, acquired during cooling, is called a thermal remanent magnetisation (TRM) and has the remarkable property that most of it is preserved for thousands of years (and vastly longer) unless it is reheated or chemically changed.