Archaeomagnetic dating english heritage

Having a dating method which directly relates to an anthropogenic activity, rather than to the end of an organism’s carbon absorption for example, is a powerful tool for the archaeologist.In August/ September last year I was privileged to be invited to visit a French archaeological site in the midi Pyrenees in the company of Professor Philippe Lanos, director of archaeomagnetism research at the University of Rennes 1.The direction and magnitude of the magnetic field of the Earth at a particular location varies with time, and can be used to constrain the age of materials.In conjunction with techniques such as radiometric dating, the technique can be used to construct and calibrate the geomagnetic polarity time scale.

You can contact our Science Advisors or contact our scientific dating experts for direct advice.

The Historic England Archaeomagnetic Dating guidelines are intended to help archaeologists, particularly curators, consultants and project managers to better understand the archaeomagnetic dating technique and thus to make optimal use of it as one of the range of scientific dating methods available for examining archaeological chronology.

It is also hoped that archaeomagnetic dating practitioners will find them useful in establishing a code of good practice when dealing with clients.

The stronger component known as the Earth’s poles, reverses direction at irregular intervals.

The weaker variations are the Earth’s magnetic map.

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