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Magnetic moments in the past: defining the geomagnetic field in the first millennium AD

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Cathy Batt
    Dr Steven Dockrill
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Recent research in Bradford has focused on developing and improving records of changes in the Earth’s magnetic field over time. This is important not only for dating archaeological materials based on their magnetic properties (archaeomagnetic dating), but also for understanding the behaviour of the geomagnetic field, an essential component of global earth systems.

The aim of this project is to evaluate independently dated archaeomagnetic measurements for the first millennium AD in the UK and to use these data to produce detailed models of the geomagnetic field in this period.

Within this research you will
• Evaluate information available from the UK database and check the grey literature for additional data
• Critically reassess the existing relative and absolute dating evidence (some of which has not been reconsidered since the 1960’s) in light of new archaeological investigations and developments in dating methods
• Locate new dating evidence where possible (both archaeomagnetic and the independent dating evidence)
• Reassess dating evidence within a Bayesian statistical framework where possible to constrain the chronological information further
• Use the measurements to produce a new, more precise model of geomagnetic change in Britain in the first millennium AD

The focus of the project is on gaining new insights using existing data and so the primary aim is not to conduct new measurements. However, in order to evaluate the existing data it is important for the student to be fully conversant with the ways in which those data have been obtained and they will make use of the archaeomagnetic dating laboratory at Bradford. Samples are available for the student to become fully acquainted with the laboratory processes and opportunities may arise to sample new sites.

Related Subjects



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