Open Access

Archaeomagnetic investigation of oriented pre-Columbian lime-plasters from Teotihuacan, Mesoamerica

Earth, Planets and Space200658:BF03352639

Received: 19 December 2005

Accepted: 6 July 2006

Published: 8 November 2006


Results of an archaeomagnetic study of two excavation field seasons at the Xalla and Teopancazco residential areas of the ancient Prehispanic city of Teotihuacan, Central Mexico are reported. One-hundred and fifty three oriented samples of lime-plasters from the two archaeological sites were collected for the study. NRM directions are reasonably well grouped. Alternating field demagnetization shows single or two-component magnetizations. Rock magnetic measurements point to fine-grained titanomagnetites with pseudo-single domain behaviour. Characteristic site mean directions from both sites are correlated to the available palaeosecular variation curve for Mesoamerica. The mean directions obtained from Xalla site point to average dates of 550 AD±25 years that matches with the documented ‘Big Fire’ of Teotihuacan (AD 575). Two consecutive construction levels at Teopancazco were estimated as AD 250–350 and AD 350–425 respectively.

Key words

Archaeomagnetismlime-plastersgeomagnetic secular variationTeotihuacanMesoamerica