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Journal Article

Archaeomagnetism, Radiocarbon Dating, and the Problem of Circular Reasoning in Chronological Debates: A Reply to Stillinger et al. 2016

Katharina Streit and Felix Höflmayer
Near Eastern Archaeology
Vol. 79, No. 4 (December 2016), pp. 233-235
DOI: 10.5615/neareastarch.79.4.0233
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5615/neareastarch.79.4.0233
Page Count: 3
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Archaeomagnetism, Radiocarbon Dating, and the Problem of Circular Reasoning in Chronological Debates: A Reply to Stillinger et al. 2016
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Abstract

In the June 2016 issue of Near Eastern Archaeology, Michele D. Stillinger, James W. Hardin, Joshua M. Feinberg, and Jeffrey A. Blakely published a paper entitled “Archaeomagnetism as a Complementary Dating Technique to Address the Iron Age Chronology Debate in the Levant” (Stillinger et al. 2016) in which the authors argue that archaeomagnetism “can provide a complementary dating tool to build a stronger, more robust chronology for the Iron Age” (90). The authors suggest here that their paper is overly optimistic regarding the potential of archaeomagnetism as a means for refining the Iron Age chronology of the Levant. Further, their approach is in fact based on circular reasoning, seriously constraining the potential use of this dating methodology. Despite the fact that other absolute dating techniques would be highly desirable for providing absolute (calendrical) dates for the Iron Age, the authors argue that radiocarbon dating and Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon determinations will remain the most useful and reliable dating methodology in the foreseeable future.

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