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Geofísica internacional

Print version ISSN 0016-7169


CARRANCHO, Ángel et al. Thermomagnetic monitoring of lithic clasts burned under controlled temperature and field conditions: Implications for archaeomagnetism. Geofís. Intl [online]. 2014, vol.53, n.4, pp.473-490. ISSN 0016-7169.

We carried out a combined thermal and magnetic evaluation on experimentally knapped clasts of different lithologies (chert, quartzite, limestone, sandstone and obsidian) heated under controlled field and temperature conditions. The main aim of this study is to estimate the feasibility of use of these raw materials, which are commonly found in prehistoric archaeological sites for archaeomagnetic purposes. Rock magnetic analysis included measurements of low-field magnetic susceptibility, isothermal remanent magnetisation (IRM) acquisition curves, hysteresis loops and thermomagnetic curves of lithic clasts both before and after experimental heating. All lithologies, except the obsidian, recorded an increase of up two orders of magnitude in their magnetic concentration-dependent parameters revealing the formation of new ferrimagnetic minerals. Obsidian and sandstone are the most reliable magnetic carriers, followed by limestone, chert and quartzite. Magnetic susceptibility values show significant differences among lithologies. Isothermal remanent magnetisation proved also to be highly discriminatory as well as the room temperature hysteresis parameters. The main macroscopic alterations resulted in colour changes, rubefactions, potlids in cherts and the massive formation of internal fissures in obsidian specimens. The multispecimen palaeointensity technique was applied on selected samples yielding satisfactory results for heated obsidian and sandstone samples. The archaeological applicability of the results is discussed as well as their geomagnetic significance.

Keywords : Archaeology; archaeomagnetism; rock-magnetism; palaeointensity; lithic technology.

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