Archaeomagnetic investigations in Bolgar (Tatarstan)
Kosareva, Lina R.
Kuzina, Dilyara M.
Nurgaliev, Danis K.
Sitdikov, Airat G.
Luneva, Olga V.
Khasanov, Damir I.
Earth and related Environmental sciences
History and Archaeology
Archaeology, Golden Horde, Archaeomagnetism, Thellier-Thellier method, Bayesian statistics, Geomagnetic field, Palaeosecular variation, Magnetic property analyses
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The objective of this study is to provide a well-dated point for a future palaeosecular variation (PSV) reference curve for western Russia. For this purpose archaeomagnetic and magnetic property analyses were carried out on a pottery kiln unearthed at the UNESCO World Heritage site of ancient Bolgar, having a rather precise age dating. The archaeological context provided an age between 1340 and 1360 C.E. The characteristic remanence vector was determined through alternating field demagnetisation and Thellier- Thellier palaeointensity experiments. Some innovations were introduced regarding palaeointensity. The check testing the equality of blocking and unblocking temperature was redefined. This allowed waiving the commonly used additional zero-field cooling steps during the Thellier-Thellier experiment. Another innovation concerns the calculation of archaeointensity at structure level. A Bayesian approach was introduced for averaging individual specimen archaeointensities using a prior probability distribution of unknown uncertainties. Next, an additional prior probability distribution was used to correct for cooling rate effects. This resulted in a lower uncertainty compared to common practice and in eluding time consuming cooling rate experiments. The complex magnetic mineralogy consists of maghaemite, multi-domain haematite and Al-substituted haematite. Some samples contained also some non-stoichiometric magnetite. The magnetic mineralogy was determined through hysteresis loops, backfield and remanence decay curves, measurements of the frequency dependence of magnetic susceptibility and through low temperature magnetisation curves. Accompanying hightemperature thermomagnetic analyses revealed an excellent thermo-chemical stability of the studied specimens. Directions obtained from alternating field demagnetisation and those extracted from archaeointensity experiments are congruent and have low uncertainties. The obtained archaeomagnetic results are fairly in agreement with global geomagnetic field models and contemporary PSV data of the wider area. The geomagnetic field vector obtained for ancient Bolgar is of high quality, deserving thus its inclusion in a future PSV reference curve for European Russia.
Kosareva, L.R., Kuzina, D.M., Nurgaliev, D.K. et al. Archaeomagnetic investigations in Bolgar (Tatarstan). Stud Geophys Geod (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11200-019-0493-3