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Rock-Magnetic and Archaeointensity Investigation of Pottery and a Burned Floor at the Tzintzuntzan Archaeological Site, Western Mexico

Authors

  • Juan Morales,

    Corresponding author
    • Laboratorio Interinstitucional de Magnetismo Natural, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad Michoacán, Campus Morelia, Mexico
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  • Avto Goguitchaichvili,

    1. Laboratorio Interinstitucional de Magnetismo Natural, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad Michoacán, Campus Morelia, Mexico
    2. Laboratorio de Paleomagnetismo, Departamento de Física, Escuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad de Burgos, Burgos, Spain
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  • Bertha A. Aguilar-Reyes,

    1. Laboratorio Interinstitucional de Magnetismo Natural, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad Michoacán, Campus Morelia, Mexico
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  • Modesto Pineda,

    1. Laboratorio Interinstitucional de Magnetismo Natural, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad Michoacán, Campus Morelia, Mexico
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  • Claire Carvallo,

    1. Institut de Minéralogie et de Physique des Milieux Condensés, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
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  • Laura Beramendi-Orosco,

    1. Laboratorio Universitario de Radiocarbono, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., Mexico
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  • Galia González-Hernández,

    1. Laboratorio Universitario de Radiocarbono, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F., Mexico
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  • Arturo Oliveros

    1. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), Michoacán, Mexico
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  • Scientific editing by Robert Sternberg

*Corresponding author;

E-mail: jmorales@geofisica.unam.mx

Abstract

We report a detailed rock-magnetic and archaeointensity analysis of four pottery fragments and a burned floor recovered from the Tzintzuntzan archaeological site in western Mexico. Results from rock-magnetic experiments (x-T curves and first-order reversal curves [FORC] diagrams) indicate the suitability of most of these materials as faithful geomagnetic field recorders. Potsherds were archaeomagnetically dated by comparing their mean intensity values against the paleosecular variation curve CALS3k, suggesting A.D. 600–941 as the most probable age range. This is younger than 14C-dated charcoal from the same burned floor (A.D. 1294–1426). More precise age estimates will require the use of the full geomagnetic vector (declination, inclination, and intensity). Multiple reheatings of the ceramic pieces, evidenced as secondary components in Zijderveld plots, could reflect multiple heating of these objects, perhaps from use as incense burners. Our study demonstrates the potential of archaeomagnetic analysis to both date burned ceramics recovered in situ and provide insight into their use-history.

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