Exploring geomagnetic variations in ancient Mesopotamia: Archaeomagnetic study of inscribed bricks from the 3rd-1st millennia BCE

dc.contributor.authorHowland, Matthew D.
dc.contributor.authorTauxe, Lisa
dc.contributor.authorGordin, Shai
dc.contributor.authorAltaweel, Mark
dc.contributor.authorCych, Brendan
dc.contributor.authorBen-Yosef, Erez
dc.date.accessioned2024-01-25T15:33:30Z
dc.date.available2024-01-25T15:33:30Z
dc.date.issued2023-12
dc.descriptionClick on the DOI link to access this article (may not be free).
dc.description.abstractThis study presents 32 high-resolution geomagnetic intensity data points from Mesopotamia, spanning the 3rd to the 1st millennia BCE. These data contribute to rectifying geographic disparities in the resolution of the global archaeointensity curve that have hampered our understanding of geomagnetic field dynamics and the viability of applying archaeomagnetism as a method of absolute dating of archaeological objects. A lack of precise and well-dated intensity data in the region has also limited our ability to identify short-term fluctuations in the geomagnetic field, such as the Levantine Iron Age geomagnetic Anomaly (LIAA), a period of high field intensity from ca. 1050 to 550 BCE. This phenomenon has hitherto not been well-demonstrated in Mesopotamia, contrary to predictions from regional geomagnetic models. To address these issues, this study presents precise archaeomagnetic results from 32 inscribed baked bricks, tightly dated to the reigns of 12 Mesopotamian kings through interpretation of their inscriptions. Results confirm the presence of the high field values of the LIAA in Mesopotamia during the first millennium BCE and drastically increase the resolution of the archaeointensity curve for the 3rd-1st millennia BCE. This research establishes a baseline for the use of archaeomagnetic analysis as an absolute dating technique for archaeological materials from Mesopotamia.
dc.description.sponsorshipWe thank Agnete Lassen, Klaus Wagensonner, Christeanne Santos, Jeffrey Gee, Yoav Vaknin, and Ron Shaar for discussions and support. We would like to thank the manuscript reviewers, F.L. and M.W., for taking the time and effort necessary to review the manuscript. We sincerely appreciate all valuable comments and suggestions, which helped us to improve the quality of the manuscript. This study was financially supported by United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation Grants #2018305 and #2022139 awarded to L.T. and E.B.-Y.
dc.identifier.citationHowland, M.D., Tauxe, L., Gordin, S., Altaweel, M., Cych, B., & Ben-Yosef, E. (2023). Exploring geomagnetic variations in ancient Mesopotamia: Archaeomagnetic study of inscribed bricks from the 3rd-1st millennia BCE. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(52). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2313361120
dc.identifier.issn0027-8424
dc.identifier.urihttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2313361120
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10057/26172
dc.language.isoen-US
dc.publisherNational Academy of Sciences
dc.relation.ispartofseriesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
dc.relation.ispartofseriesvol. 120, no. 52
dc.rights.holder© Copyright 2023 the Author(s).
dc.subjectArchaeology
dc.subjectArchaeomagnetic dating
dc.subjectArchaeomagnetism
dc.subjectChronology
dc.subjectMesopotamia
dc.titleExploring geomagnetic variations in ancient Mesopotamia: Archaeomagnetic study of inscribed bricks from the 3rd-1st millennia BCE
dc.typeArticle
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