Pottery dating techniques

06-Aug-2017 06:11

Small samples of soil or burnt building materials are prepared in situ by having small plastic discs glued to the surface of the layer.The discs are marked with a line which points towards the present position of the magnetic pole - which is measured with a highly accurate compass.Then the discs and the small blocks of soil attached beneath them are carefully removed.In the lab afterwards, the difference in orientation between the line showing the present magnetic pole and the orientation of the magnetised particles in the soil, reflecting the pole's position at the time of burning, can be determined.

The earliest recorded evidence of clay usage dates back to the Late Palaeolithic period in central and western Europe, where fired and unfired clay figurines were created as a form of artistic expression.Magnetic particles are always oriented towards the magnetic north pole, and this is fixed at the time of burning.When structures are repeatedly burnt, we can sometimes measure the date of separate burning episodes by sampling different fired layers.However, a few complicated factors limit the precision and accuracy in age determination.

These complicated factors are analyzed and discussed.Such problems are common in arid regions around the world.

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