Geomagnetic Field Intensity During the First Millennium BCE From Royal Judean Storage Jars: Constraining the Duration of the Levantine Iron Age Anomaly

E. Hassul*, R. Shaar, Y. Vaknin, A. Agnon, Y. Gallet, U. Leibner, R. Sabar, L. Freud, D. Sandhaus, O. Lipschits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The rich and extensively studied archaeological record of the Near East provides an opportunity to develop a comprehensive archaeomagnetic dataset for exploring the behavior of the geomagnetic field with high precision. The Levantine archaeomagnetic curve (LAC) project is an ongoing effort to develop a continuous high-resolution geomagnetic intensity curve for the Levant and Mesopotamia. The first version of the LAC covered the period between 3000 and 550 BCE. Here, we report archaeointensity data from 169 samples compiled into 32 groups dating between the 7th and the 1st centuries BCE aiming at extending the LAC up to the end of the first millennium BCE. Twenty-two groups are assembled from storage jar handles bearing different types of royal seal impressions, which were used in Judah as part of a taxation administrative system. These groups are combined with 10 other groups of pottery assemblages, three of which are from Hellenistic destruction layers dated using radiocarbon and coins. The new curve shows that the Levantine Iron Age Anomaly (LIAA) spanned 550 years (1100 - 550 BCE) and that the rate of decline during the last spike around 600 BCE could have reached ∼0.6 μT/year. During the 6th century, the virtual axial dipole moment (VADM) dropped from 160 ZAm2 to 125 ZAm2 after which field intensity only slightly increased to 135 ZAm2, until another considerable decline to ∼90 ZAm2 during the 3rd to the 1st centuries BCE. We highlight the archaeomagnetic implication of the new curve in inferring the relative chronological relationship between different stamp types.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2023GC011263
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.

Keywords

  • Levantine iron age anomaly
  • archaeomagnetism
  • geomagnetic secular variation
  • paleointensity
  • paleomagnetism

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