North American Archaeomagnetism
The ISM Archaeomagnetic Laboratory functions primarily as a research facility with a focus on developing the dating technique in the
Eastern U.S. and refining the methodologies employed in North America. Although the majority of our work occurs in the American Midwest,
Southeast and Southwest, we are interested in pursuing curve-building efforts in other regions. Please contact us if you are interested
in collaborating on these efforts.
The ISM lab also offers commercial dating services to our archaeological and geological colleagues
in the private and public sectors, particularly in the American Southwest. Sample submission and rate information can be found below.
One of our goals is to improve public and professional understanding of the technique through outreach and education. We can provide
materials for High School and College-level lectures, or, when feasible, we can give talks on archaeomagnetic dating to classes, field
schools, or organizations. For professionals and students, we can provide training in sample collecting methods, preferably after
appropriate archaeological features (e.g., hearths, earth ovens or kilns) have been excavated through routine field work (e.g., field
schools, and volunteer or CRM projects). Please contact the lab director, Dr. Stacey Lengyel, for more information.
Sample Submission & Rates
Archaeomagnetic Dating Services at the Illinois State Museum
To reduce background noise when samples are brought in from the field, please store samples away from computers, monitors, phones
& other electronics.
A particularly good method of packing plaster-encased archaeomagnetic samples for shipment to the lab is to
tape the sample cubes into a solid block (see figure below). This prevents them from becoming loose and knocking against one another.
Please wrap the cube block in a paper towel or tissue prior to taping. This keeps the tape from sticking to the plaster and prevents
removal of scribed provenience information.
The taped set should then be placed securely in a box or sack and packed in a mailing
box. The U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and Fed-Ex seem to do equally well in getting the package here in reasonable shape. Please be sure
to enclose the field form with each sample and to include the project name, site number, feature number, and site elevation and location
(UTMs, including zone and datum).
Please mail samples to:
Illinois State Museum
Research and Collections Center
1011 E. Ash St
Springfield, IL 62703
We currently charge $300/sample for archaeomagnetic dating. Typically, a sample consists of between 8 and 12 cubes. Rates may be negotiable
for research samples (i.e., curve building efforts). You are encouraged to contact the lab at the beginning of your project to discuss
available services and rates.