Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
ARCHAEOINTENSITY AND DATING OF POTTERY SHERDS FROM THE ANCIENT CITY OF URKESH, TELL MOZAN, SYRIA
Excavations at Tell Mozan (ancient Urkesh, a Hurrian political and religious center during the 3rd millennium BCE) in northwestern Syria have revealed evidence of nearly 4000 years of continuous occupation. Based on textual and glyptic evidence as well as typological dating of ceramic artifacts, the site stratigraphy has been divided into six major occupational phases dating from the Akkadian Period (2300 BCE) to the Mittani Period (1500 BCE). This span of occupation has provided the most complete ceramic record, serving as the foundation for the site’s chronological framework and providing the archaeological material needed to augment the existing archaeointensity database for this geographic area and time period. We report preliminary archaeointensity results on pottery samples that were analyzed using the Thellier-style absolute paleointensity technique of Tauxe and Staudigel (2004). Samples were selected from 95 pottery sherds based on degree of oxidation, porosity, temper, texture, and occupational phase. Samples were further subdivided into specimens for replicate paleointensity experiments and magnetic mineral characterization, including the identification of mineral phases, magnetic domain states, and remanence anisotropy. Paleointensity results represent the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field at the time of firing and will be added to the existing archaeomagnetic database. Of interest will be the presence or absence of geomagnetic spikes, which are characterized as abrupt and unusually high increases in magnetic field intensity spanning a short time period, typically on the order of decades. Particular attention will be given to assessing the geomagnetic spikes at 2800 and 2100 BCE as reported earlier by Gallet et al. (2006).