Extreme geomagnetic field variability indicated by Eastern Mediterranean full-vector archaeomagnetic records
The magnetic field of the Earth can exhibit considerable variations at short time scales, even as short as decades. The archaeomagnetic studies of Middle Eastern artefacts (mainly from Israel and Jordan) show evidence for an exceptionally high intensity period from 1050-700 BC which displays two distinct spikes over the Levant, the Levantine Iron Age Anomaly (LIAA). Its exact duration and geographical extent are still poorly known. Despite the wealth of ancient settlements, the extensive cultural heritage and a long history of trade and immigration, the archaeomagnetism of Turkey and Cyprus remains largely unexplored. This study presents a large data set of ancient directions and intensities from seven archaeological sites in the Eastern Mediterranean covering a time span of ∼2000 yrs. The recorded directions from thirteen sets of samples are coherent with our earlier findings, yet show significantly larger swings than existing field models. In particular, we confirm the very large swing in inclination we found earlier, from 1910-1850 BC, that is also captured by the Greek PSV curve, and shallower by more than 10◦than predicted by existing field models. Consequently, these models require substantial revision in this region. We were able to determine the archaeointensity from five sets of mud-bricks, from the thirteen attempted, allowing us to provide the full field vector. Furthermore, we present thirty-one new archaeointensity results from potsherds and mud-bricks that considerably enhance existing data, especially when a set of strict selection criteria is applied. Fourteen sets of potsherds from a single site (Tell Atchana) provide the longest sequence recorded so far in Turkey, from 2100 to 1350 BC. We find exceptionally high intensities of 145 and 175 ZAm2around 700 BC, in well-dated mud-bricks and potsherds from two different locations (Tell Tayinat and Kilise Tepe), supporting extreme geomagnetic field variability in the region. Moreover, these two high intensities confirm the younger spike of the LIAA in Turkey.