Open Access

Remanence anisotropy effect on the palaeointensity results obtained from various archaeological materials, excluding pottery

Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03353179

Received: 12 December 2007

Accepted: 15 November 2008

Published: 27 July 2009


The effect of magnetic anisotropy on the palaeointensity results has been evaluated in different materials, including samples from archaeological structures of various ages, such as baked clay from prehistoric domestic ovens or pottery kilns, burnt soil from ancient fires, and bricks and bricks or tiles used in the kiln’s construction. The remanence anisotropy was estimated by the thermoremanent (TRM) anisotropy tensor and isothermal remanence (IRM) tensor methods. The small anisotropy effect (less than 5%) observed in the palaeointensity results of baked clay from the relatively thin prehistoric oven’s floors estimated previously through IRM anisotropy was confirmed by TRM anisotropy of this material. The new results demonstrate the possibility of using IRM anisotropy evaluation to correct baked clay palaeointensity data instead of the more difficult to determine TRM anisotropy ellipsoid. This is not always the case for the palaeointensity results from bricks and tiles. The anisotropy correction to palaeointensity results seems negligible for materials other than pottery. It would therefore appear that the palaeointensity determination is more sensitive to the degree of remanence anisotropy P and the angle between the natural remanent magnetization (NRM) vector and the laboratory field direction, than to the angle between the NRM and the maximum axis of the remanence anisotropy ellipsoid (Kmax).

Key words

Archaeomagnetism baked clay materials palaeointensity magnetic anisotropy correction