ar·​chaeo·​mag·​ne·​tism ˌär-kē-(ˌ)ō-ˈmag-nə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce archaeomagnetism (audio)
variants or archeomagnetism
: the residual magnetism exhibited by archaeological remains that is used to determine their age and to help determine the former positions of the earth's magnetic poles
Archaeomagnetism (specifically, thermo-remanent magnetism) can also be used to date fired clay. Like [thermoluminescence], the principle is deceptively simple: the direction of the earth's magnetic field has changed over time, and magnetic particles contained in clay align with the direction that prevailed at the time of their last intense heating (typically, firing in a kiln).Kevin Greene, Interpreting the Past: Roman Pottery, 1992
archaeomagnetic adjective
It was decided to establish a solid calendrical base and to do this an eighteenth century … settlement was chosen for excavation. This decision was made as there was no dendrochronology, Carbon 14 or archaeomagnetic technology available at the time. Charles C. Di Peso, American Indian Art Magazine, Spring 1981

Word History


archaeo- + magnetism

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of archaeomagnetism was in 1958

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near archaeomagnetism

Cite this Entry

“Archaeomagnetism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!