Factors that have influenced the composition of the archaeomagnetic data base are identified.Recommendations are made for reporting archaeomagnetic dates.
In the conventional application of archaeomagnetic research, the data from an archaeomagnetic sample of unknown age are compared to a regional record of secular variation in order to determine the best-fit date range for the feature's last firing event.Thus, an archaeomagnetic sample, in theory, should more accurately date the target event than other dating sources (Wolfman 1990a:346).In the statistical method of sample dating (Sternberg 1982; Sternberg and Mc Guire 1990), the data from an archaeomagnetic sample are compared to to the mean VGPs of a statistically-created curve.By tracking and cross-dating past changes in the location of the magnetic field, geophysicists have reconstructed a series of magnetic polar positions extending back more than 2,000 years. At archaeological sites, hearths constructed of iron-bearing clays are ideal for archaeolomagnetic sampling because they were subjected to repeated hot firings.This series of dated positions is known as the "archaeomagnetic reference curve." (Stacey Lengyel, 2010. Directional dating can sometimes be as good as ±25 years.