Archaeological, archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence investigation of a baked clay kiln excavated at Chieri, northern Italy: contribution to the rescue of our cultural heritage

Evdokia Tema, Fulvio Fantino, Enzo Ferrara, Silvia Allegretti, Alessandro Lo Giudice, Alessandro Re, Federico Barello, Silvia Vella, Luigi Cirillo, Monica Gulmini


Combining different dating techniques is fundamental to constrain the ages of archaeological findings, mainly when direct evidences for their chronological context are not available. This paper presents the results of a combined archaeological, archaeomagnetic and thermoluminescence study of a kiln discovered during a rescue excavation at Chieri, northern Italy. The archaeological site is quite complex mainly due to the interposition of different stratigraphic levels that span from Roman times to present day. The studied kiln belongs to the post-medieval stratigraphic level but the lack of datable diagnostic objects strongly limits the possibility of its accurate dating only by means of archaeological evidences. Archaeomagnetic study was performed on 26 baked clay samples, isolating stable characteristic remanent magnetizations. The statistic comparison of the averaged direction with reference secular variation curves suggests two possible dating intervals. Independent dating from thermoluminescence study of 2 samples is consistent with the second time interval proposed by archaeomagnetism, suggesting that the kiln was abandoned at the beginning of the 17th century. The successful combination of the two independent laboratory techniques provides accurate dating of archaeological baked clays and can be used as routine for future archaeological investigations of rescue excavations.


Dating; Archaeomagnetism; Thermoluminescence; Baked clay; Cultural heritage

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X