SupervisorBatt, Catherine M.
First millennium BC
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentDepartment of Archaeological Sciences
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AbstractArchaeomagnetism is an area of research that utilises the magnetic properties of archaeological materials to date past human activity. This research aimed to use the evidence of past geomagnetism, as recorded by archaeological and geological materials, to identify and characterise short timescale changes in the Earth¿s magnetic field. This contribution to the discipline focused on the first millennium BC, as there is evidence that during this time the Earth¿s magnetic field experienced rapid changes in direction. This work focused on an established weakness in archaeomagnetic studies, i.e. the application of archaeological information to assign a date range to the magnetic directions. The date ranges for 232 magnetic directions from 98 Iron Age sites were reviewed and a programme of fieldwork produced 25 new magnetic directions from 11 Iron Age sites across Britain. The approach developed in this thesis has made significant improvements to the data examined, which represent the prehistoric section of the British secular variation curve (SVC). These data have been incorporated into the British archaeomagnetic dataset that now comprises over 1000 magnetic directions and will be used to generate future British SVCs. The potential of the near continuous records of geomagnetic secular variation from British lake sediment sequences to SVCs was explored. This showed that these sediments have recorded the relative changes in the Earth¿s magnetic field but the dating and method of constructing the British master curve requires revision. As SVCs are predominately used as calibration curves for archaeomagnetic dating, this work provides a foundation for a revised and extended British SVC. This revision would be to the mutual benefit of studies in archaeology and archaeomagnetism, as the latter could potentially enable highresolution dating of Iron Age material, providing a viable alternative to radiocarbon dating.
NotesAvailable full-text since June 30th 2013, at the end of the embargo period.
Lab data and appendices 3 and 4 are unavailable online.