Near Eastern Archaeology Vol. 79, No. 4, December article, “Archaeomagnetism, Radiocarbon Dating, and the Problem of Circular Reasoning in Chronological Debates: A Reply to Stillinger et al.,” by Katharina Streit (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Felix Höflmayer (Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences).
In the Juneissue of Near Eastern Archaeology, Michele D. Stillinger, James W. Hardin, Joshua M. Feinberg, and Jeffrey A. Blakely published a paper entitled “Archaeomagnetism as a Complementary Dating Technique to Address the Iron Age Chronology Debate in the Levant” (Stillinger et al.) in which the authors argue that archaeomagnetism “can provide a complementary dating tool to build a stronger, more robust chronology for the Iron Age” (90). The authors suggest here that their paper is overly optimistic regarding the potential of archaeomagnetism as a means for refining the Iron Age chronology of the Levant. Further, their approach is in fact based on circular reasoning, seriously constraining the potential use of this dating methodology. Despite the fact that other absolute dating techniques would be highly desirable for providing absolute (calendrical) dates for the Iron Age, the authors argue that radiocarbon dating and Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon determinations will remain the most useful and reliable dating methodology in the foreseeable future.