GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 147-18
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


STILLINGER, Michele D., Department of Earth Sciences, Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, FEINBERG, Joshua M., Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, Department of Earth Sciences, Minneapolis, MN 55455, HARDIN, James W., Mississippi State University, Cobb Institute of Archaeology, Mississippi State, MS 39762 and BLAKELY, Jeffrey A., Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706,

Archaeomagnetism, the study of the Earth’s ancient magnetic field as recorded by heat-treated anthropogenic objects, is a crucial source of paleomagnetic data for modeling the Earth’s geomagnetic field behavior during the Quaternary. These same data can be compiled to construct regional reference curves of field intensity (strength) and directional variability through time, which can then be used as geochronometers suitable for building more robust archaeological chronologies. This approach is particularly significant for time periods when other absolute dating techniques provide ambiguous age results or lack the narrow standard deviations necessary for meticulous interpretation of human events. This research utilizes Bronze and Iron Age Near Eastern pottery, fired brick, and clay ovens to demonstrate the applicability of archaeomagnetism in order to address the radiocarbon dating controversy surrounding the first millennium B.C.E. in the Levant. During this period, the radiocarbon curve is marked by a number of plateaus and De Vries effects that cause bimodal age determinations, which have resulted in chronological contention in the Near East archaeological community. Here we integrate our archaeomagnetic results from Syria and Israel with carefully selected results from previously published studies to present a new reference curve of the secular variation of the Earth’s magnetic field strength for the first three millennia B.C.E., which is suitable as a complementary dating technique to address this debate.
  • StillingerGSAPoster2016.pdf (12.7 MB)