Scientists revealed ancient pottery which seems to have accidentally recorded the magnetic field of our planet. The magnetic field of the Earth which deviates dangerous space radiation from its surface has been slowly losing its strength over the last two hundred years. It diminished its strength by about 10%, accelerating its decay even more during the last few years.
- Scientists have tried to determine the evolution of the magnetic field by analyzing ancient pottery.
- They discovered some jar handles in Judah, an Iron Age kingdom situated in Israel.
- They revealed the fluctuations of the magnetic field of the Earth.
Due to this weakening of the magnetic field, researchers assumed that it might be on the verge of disappearing if the south and the north poles of the planet would flip. This could have dramatic consequences on life and civilization. Nevertheless, geoscientists do not have sufficient data concerning this problem with the magnetic field.
They stated that the current decline might be only due to typical fluctuations. They decided to analyze pottery to find more data which could be relevant for their study. On February 13, scientists have published their study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An international team of researchers has 67 jar handles which were gathered from an excavation of an Iron Age kingdom.
The kingdom was known as Judah, and it was encapsulating the area around Jerusalem between the 8th and 2nd centuries B.C. Scientists argue that in these handles there were records of the rise of the magnetic field which happened during those times. The ancient pottery contained liquid goods such as olive oil and wines.
The handles of those jars were marked with royal stamps, being part of the tax collection system. Nevertheless, specialists were not able to decipher whether these markings contained a particular date. But archaeologists who took care of studying these artifacts for over a century know that those markings changed with the passaging of time.
Erez Ben-Yosef, an archaeologist at the Tel Aviv University of Israel, noted that they could use ancient pottery to trace the evolution of the magnetic field that occurred in time. They may use the jar samples to rebuild the intensities of the magnetic field.
Volcanic rocks can record the intensity and direction of the magnetic field when they cool down and harden. However, methods used for dating rocks were not accurate, involving uncertainties of thousands of years. These ceramic jars recorded the magnetic field of the Earth when they were fired in kilns.
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