Archaeomagnetic dating sites
Sediments and friable fired materials are sampled by insertion of 25mm diameter plastic cylinders.Magnetometers used are sufficiently sensitive for only small samples (c.The vast majority of UK studies are dating by direction, as intensity dating is not commercially viable at present For archaeological material to be suitable for dating using magnetic direction it must contain sufficient magnetised particles, and an event must have caused these particles to record the Earth’s magnetic field. soils, sediments, clays, contain sufficient magnetic minerals.
Dating by intensity does not require in situ samples but is less precise and experimentally more difficult.
The Magnetic Moments in the Past project aims to promote archaeomagnetic dating for routine use within UK archaeology.
The project was launched by the University of Bradford and English Heritage in April 2009, and is co-ordinated by Dr Cathy Batt (University of Bradford).
Because archaeomagnetic dating usually requires laboratory personnel to collect samples on site, the lack of Scottish laboratories makes the method both expensive and unable to respond rapidly, except within the framework of planned research excavations.
It is clearly advantageous to raise the profile of archaeomagnetic dating in Scotland.