A record of the past geomagnetic field can be found in the remains of hearths, furnaces, or other anthropogenically fired features that we as archaeologist excavate on a regular basis.
Archaeomagnetic studies seek to improve our knowledge of past geomagnetic field changes through the analysis of this material. This is because we can use the knowledge of geomagnetic fluctuations over time to conduct archaeomagnetic dating and gain an idea of the last time that some fired archaeological features were heated.
For those that aren’t quite sure what this odd science (magic) is, you are welcome to peruse my website, which is listed at the end of this blog post, for some answers.
Simply put, the Earth has a magnetic field which varies over space and time.
The feature was above the hillfort’s ramparts, but below what looked like a Medieval field boundary.
Archaeomagnetically, we think it’s probably from the 9 C.
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While the study was successful and the date recovered for a fired hearth feature in Trench 6 (c.4350 cal.
BC) was considered accurate given other artefactual dating evidence for the site, newly acquired radiocarbon dating evidence suggests that the calibration methods used for the archaeomagnetic dates produced erroneous results.
This was due to the use of an experimental and alternative calibration model from outside the UK, as the current UK calibration model does not stretch back into the Bronze Age or before.