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Archaeomagnetic dating

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.

Besides reviewing the basic principles of these methods, this article describes a number of applications, emphasizing explication of the method and solution of particular archaeological problems.

Archaeomagnetic dating relies on the measuring the orientation of iron particles in burnt deposits towards the magnetic pole.

The pole moves around, but magnetised deposits stay fixed on its position at the time of burning.

The archaeologist would have to decide which one is the most likely based on other indicators such as finds or radiocarbon dates.