New Late Neolithic (c. 7000-5000 BC) archeointensity data from Syria. Reconstructing 9000 years of archeomagnetic field intensity variations in the Middle East

Research areas:
Year:
2015
Authors:
  • Yves Gallet
  • Miguel Molist Montana
  • Agnes Genevey
  • Xavier Clop Garcia
  • Erwan Thébault
  • Anna Gomez Bach
  • Maxime Le Goff
  • Beatrice Robert
  • Inga Nachasova
Journal:
PHYSICS OF THE EARTH AND PLANETARY INTERIORS
Volume:
238
Pages:
89-103
Month:
January
ISSN:
0031-9201
BibTex:
Abstract:
We present new archeomagnetic intensity data from two Late Neolithic archeological sites (Tell Halula and Tell Masaikh) in Syria. These data, from 24 groups of potsherds encompassing 15 different time levels, are obtained using the Triaxe experimental protocol, which takes into account both the thermoremanent magnetization anisotropy and cooling rate effects on intensity determinations. They allow us to recover the geomagnetic intensity variations in the Middle East, between similar to 7000 BC and similar to 5000 BC, i.e. during the so-called pre-Halaf, proto-Halaf, Halaf and Halaf-Ubaid Transitional cultural phases. The data are compared with previous archeointensity results of similar ages from Northern Iraq (Yarim Tepe II and Tell Sotto) and Bulgaria. We find that previous dating of the Iraqi material was in error. When corrected, all northern Mesopotamian data show a relatively good consistency and also reasonably match with the Bulgarian archeointensity dataset. Using a compilation of available data, we construct a geomagnetic field intensity variation curve for the Middle East encompassing the past 9000 years, which makes it presently the longest known regional archeomagnetic intensity record. We further use this compilation to constrain variations in dipole field moment over most of the Holocene. In particular, we discuss the possibility that a significant dipole moment maximum occurred during the third millennium BC, which cannot easily be identified in available time-varying global geomagnetic field reconstructions. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.