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Posterior archaeomagnetic dating: An example from the Early Medieval site Thunau am Kamp, Austria

Abstract : The Early Medieval valley settlement of Thunau am Kamp in Lower Austria has been under archaeological excavation for 10 years. The site was occupied during the 9th and 10th centuries AD according to potsherds, which seem to indicate two phases of activity: in the older phase ovens were placed in the corners of houses while during the younger phase they are found in the middle of the wall. The present study has been conducted in order to increase the archaeomagnetic database and fill the temporal gap around 900 AD. For this purpose 14 ovens have been sampled for their paleaomagnetic signals. Laboratory treatment generally confirmed that the baked clay has preserved stable directions. Apart from one exception, all the mean characteristic remanent magnetisation directions are concentrated on the Early Medieval part of the directional archaeomagnetic reference curve of Austria at about 900 AD. Using this curve archaeomagnetic dating provides ages between 800 and 1100 AD, which are in agreement with the archaeological dating. Together with the archaeological age estimates and stratigraphic information the new data have been included into the database of the Austrian curve and it has been recalculated using a new version of RenCurve. The new data confine the curve and its error band considerably in the time interval 800 to 1100 AD. This calibration process also provides probability density distributions for each included structure, which allows for posterior dating and refines temporal errors considerably. Because such dating includes archaeological information it is not an independent age estimate but is a combination of all available dating methods
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Elisabeth Schnepp, Martin Obenaus, Philippe Lanos. Posterior archaeomagnetic dating: An example from the Early Medieval site Thunau am Kamp, Austria. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Elsevier, 2015, 2, pp.688-698. ⟨10.1016/j.jasrep.2014.12.002⟩. ⟨insu-01200757⟩

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