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The remaining mean VGPs cannot be statistically distinguished from that of the sample, and their associated date range(s) is assigned to the sample VGP.Because secular variation is a repetitive looping motion through time, it is possible to have multiple date options for a feature.
Secular variation dating using archaeomagnetic directions and archaeointensities has been used for Neolithic and younger cultures.
Successful archaeomagnetic dating requires appropriate earthen materials, fires sufficiently hot to create a strong and coherent alignment, recovery of a carefully aligned set of specimens from the burned archaeological feature, careful laboratory measurement of the specimens to determine a mean VGP and its error term, and interpretation of a date range from the relationship between the error ellipse and calibration curve.
Archaeomagnetic dating is based on the comparison of directions, intensities or polarities with master records of change.
Superheating rock or clay (hotter than firing a prehistoric ceramic) aligns the iron mineral within the material to the current magnetic north pole. 1993 A methodological approach for identifying archaeological evidence of fire resulting from human activities.
Since the pole has wandered over time, comparing the alignment of the iron mineral particles to the master curve of the North Pole provides a usable date for reference. Howard 1991 Direct dating of prehistoric canal sediments using archaeomagnetism.