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Lecture | GeoArch

Integrating Environmental Magnetism and Archaeology: A Marriage Proposal

Tuesday 11 February 2020
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

The characterisation and study of magnetic bearing Fe- minerals has been a part of archaeology, and furthermore Geoarchaeology, consistently since the 80s and the 90s. The study of these minerals, called Environmental Magnetism, is a component of many archaeological analysis. However, it is often not well integrated into these studies, being little but an isolated tool used to compliment the overall archaeological results.

This discussion will begin by exploring three separate case studies which highlight the strengths and weaknesses in the archaeological application of Environmental Magnetism. These case studies will include; exploring how Richard Macphail has utilised Magnetic Susceptibility (MS) in association with his geoarchaeological studies; the application of Environmental Magnetism at the MSA sites of Sibudu, and the Pinnacle Point cave complex conducted by Andy IR Herries and, later, myself; and finally a recent study which utilises magnetics in a broader geoarchaeological analysis conducted by Ivana Laura Ozan (et al 2019) upon a couple of Patagonian paleoindian sites.

The discussion will end with a forward perspective into why magnetic analysis has to become better integrated into general geoarchaeological practice, and some potential ways this integration can be brought about.

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