Archaeomagnetic results on three Early Iron Age salt-kilns from Moyenvic (France)

Abstract : Variations of the Earthfs magnetic field during the first millennium BC in western Europe remain poorly constrained, especially archaeointensity changes. Three salt-kilns (MOA, MOB and MOC) sampled in Moyenvic (Lorraine, eastern France) have been studied to provide new reference data. Each kiln has been dated by radiocarbon to originate from the Early Iron Age or Hallstatt period (between VIII and Vth Century BC). Rock magnetic experiments and hysteresis results suggest the predominance of pseudo-single domain (PSD) Ti-poor magnetite. Archaeomagnetic directions obtained by thermal and alternating field demagnetizations have high mean inclination (close to 70.) and declination (between 19 and 31.). A first set of classical Thellier.Thellier experiments was conducted on 46 samples with a laboratory field almost parallel to the direction of the characteristic remanent magnetization (ChRM). Only 24 of these specimens present a linear NRM.TRM plot. For other specimens, NRM.TRM plots are concave-up with positive pTRM checks. The very large dispersion observed between the determined palaeointensity values suggests some artefacts have not been fully recognized. A second set of Thellier experiments was conducted on 34 sister specimens with the laboratory field applied quasi-perpendicular to the ChRM. In these cases,mineralogical evolutions during heating and chemical remanent magnetization acquisitions have been clearly recognized, despite positive pTRM checks. The concave-up shapes of NRM.TRM plots appear mainly due to mineralogical alteration rather than to the presence of PSD.MD grains. For the entire set of samples the success rate of the palaeointensity determinations is very low with 80 per cent of the samples rejected. Nevertheless, reliable mean archaeointensities have been obtained for two of the three kilns (MOA, 80.1 } 14.5 ƒÊT and MOB, 86.6 } 6.9 ƒÊT at the latitude of Paris). The high field strength and the archaeomagnetic directions determined, combined with previous published data, provide further evidence for important changes of the Earth magnetic field in Europe during the first half of the first millennium BC. These large variations of the geomagnetic field during the Iron Ages indicate that archaeomagnetism is highly suitable for dating of structures from this period.
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Gwenaël Hervé, Elisabeth Schnepp, Annick Chauvin, Philippe Lanos, Norbert Nowaczyk. Archaeomagnetic results on three Early Iron Age salt-kilns from Moyenvic (France). Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011, 185 (1), pp.144-156. 〈10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.04933.x〉. 〈insu-00610850〉

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