PhD success for Ness regular

Sam hard at work taking his 'button' samples from one of the Structure Eight hearths.
Sam hard at work taking his ‘button’ samples from one of the Structure Eight hearths.

Huge congratulations to Sam Harris, a regular at the Ness over the last few years, who has just been granted his PhD from Bradford University.

Sam’s HES-funded thesis Developing Archaeomagnetic Dating for Neolithic Scotland was based largely on samples he extracted from the hearths at the Ness. The project developed archaeomagnetic dating in the Neolithic period in Scotland, using the Ness as a case study.

Fired archaeological materials and sediments can be dated by comparing their magnetic properties with known changes in the past geomagnetic field. However, the development of archaeomagnetic dating in the Neolithic in the UK was hindered by the lack of dated magnetic measurements defining geomagnetic change in that period.

This PhD project addressed that lacuna by using archaeomagnetic measurements on material from the Ness, in conjunction with radiocarbon dates, to define geomagnetic changes which can then be used to date other sites.

Well done Sam and we look forward to seeing more results.