Archaeomagnetic study of five mounds from Upper Mesopotamia between 2500 and 700 BCE: Further evidence for an extremely strong geomagnetic field ca. 3000 years ago
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The distribution of archaeomagnetic data in eastern Europe and the Near and Middle East shows a remarkable gap in Turkey. This study presents the first archaeomagnetic results from five different mounds in southeast Turkey, the northern part of Mesopotamia. The rock magnetic experiments indicate that in the majority of the samples the dominant magnetic carrier is magnetite, which is stable to heating to temperatures of 700 degrees C. In general, the demagnetization diagrams are single component and all five sets display well-defined characteristic magnetizations and clustered directions. For the period between 2500 and 700 BCE, the declinations are between 350 degrees and 20 degrees while inclinations are in the range of 49-64 degrees. The directional results are compared with the global geomagnetic field models (CALS7k.2, ARCH3k_cst.1 and CALS3k.4) and the data from the archaeomagnetic database GEOMAGIA50v2. The results are coherent with both the data and the models except for two near-contemporaneous sets dating similar to 2000 BCE, which are offset to the east by more than 20 degrees with respect to CALS7k.2. Archaeointensity measurements were made using the microwave and conventional thermal Thellier methods applied to five sets of samples (four furnaces and a mud-brick wall). These yielded comparable and intriguing results. While those from the furnaces are slightly higher than the CALS7k.2 model and in agreement with the GEOMAGIA50v2 and the Middle East data, the results from the mud-brick wall suggest a high intensity of 100.8 mu T (17.7 x 10(22) Am-2) at similar to 1000 BCE. This result is in excellent agreement with recent claims of extremely high intensity measured in other regions of the Middle East for this time period though less consistent with these being associated with extremely short-lived events. Finally, we discuss our new and other recently published archaeointensity results in terms of geomagnetic intensity versus climate. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.