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About the project

Understanding the age of a given site is central to all archaeological studies. Archaeomagnetic dating is a valuable technique as it samples materials such as fired clay and stone, found frequently on archaeological sites in structures such as kilns, hearths, ovens and furnaces. Archaeomagnetism provides a date of when the material was last heated, which usually relates to the last time the structure was used. The date is therefore archaeologically significant and can be related to a specific human activity.

A project was launched by the University of Bradford and English Heritage to develop archaeomagentic dating for application in UK archaeology, funded as part of the AHRC's Knowledge Transfer Fellowship scheme. The aim of the project was to demonstrate and communicate the potential of archaeomagnetism for routine use within the UK, and to provide a mechanism for the continued development of the method. This was achieved by providing clear information about the technique, and by addressing the questions frequently asked by archaeologists. A database was also produced that contained all of the archaeomagnetic studies carried out in the UK since the 1950s, so that the users can see how the technique has been applied in the past to different situations.

The specific relevance of this project to the two main user groups have been summarised in the following sections: