First archeointensity determinations on Maya incense burners from Palenque temples, Mexico: New data to constrain the Mesoamerica secular variation curve

Abstract : We present archeointensity data carried out on pieces of incense burners from the ancient Maya city of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, covering much of the Mesoamerican Classic period, from A.D. 400 to A.D. 850. We worked on pieces from 24 incense burners encompassing the five Classic ceramic phases of Palenque: Motiepa (A.D. 400-500), Cascadas (A.D. 500-600), Otulum (A.D. 600-700), Murcielagos (A.D. 700-770), and Balunté (A.D. 770-850). All the samples come from highly elaborate, flanged pedestal of incense burners that are undoubtedly assigned to a ceramic phase by means of their iconographic, morphological and stylistic analyses. Archeointensity measurements were performed with the Thellier-Thellier's method on pre-selected samples by means of their magnetic properties. We obtained archeointensities of very good technical quality from 19 of 24 pieces, allowing the determination of a precise mean value for each ceramic phase, between View the MathML source29.1±0.9μT and View the MathML source32.5±1.2μT. The firing temperatures of ceramics were estimated with Mössbauer spectroscopy between 700 °C and 1000 °C. These values ensure that a full thermo-remanent magnetization was acquired during the original heating. Our results suggest a relative stability of the field intensity during more than 400 years in this area. The abundance of archeological material in Mesoamerica contrasts with the small amount of archeomagnetic data available that are, in addition, of uneven quality. Thus, it is not possible to establish a trend of intensity variations in Mesoamerica, even using the global databases and secular variation predictions from global models. In this context, our high technical quality data represent a strong constraint for the Mesoamerican secular variation curve during the first millennium AD. The corresponding Virtual Axial Dipole Moments (VADM) are substantially smaller than the ones predicted by the last global geomagnetic models CALS3k.4, suggesting the need for additional data to develop a regional model and a reference curve for Mesoamerica.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 31, 2013 - 2:53:41 PM
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Gregory Fanjat, Pierre Camps, L. M. Alva Valdivia, M. T. Sougrati, M. Cuevas-Garcia, et al.. First archeointensity determinations on Maya incense burners from Palenque temples, Mexico: New data to constrain the Mesoamerica secular variation curve. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2013, 363, pp.168-180. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2012.12.035⟩. ⟨hal-00828696⟩

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