Paleoclimate characterization and intra-site correlation using magnetic susceptibility measurements: An example from konispol cave, Albania

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Magnetic susceptibility was measured for 630 samples from Holocene sediments taken from Konispol Cave, sw Albania. Comparisons between magnetic susceptibility profiles from three trenches within the cave show distinctive variations in magnetic susceptibility magnitudes and patterns that, in turn, allow direct correlations between trenches and estimates of small-scale sedimentation rate changes. Using 14C dates in conjunction with magnetic susceptibility variations in individual trenches, we have constructed a composite susceptibility profile. Trends toward increasing magnetic susceptibility from ca. 8,000 to 4,000 years b.p. are consistent with the long-term paleoclimatic warming trends that have been reported elsewhere. Short-term fluctuations are attributed to short-term temperature changes and varying availability of moisture for pedogenesis. Lower susceptibilities indicate times of drier/cooler conditions, while high values represent moist/warm climates. We conclude that the magnetic susceptibility fluctuations observed in samples from the cave result from shifts in paleoclimate and reflect changes in magnetic mineral concentration, primarily maghemite, produced during pedogenesis of those sediments washed into the cave. © 1996, Maney Publishing.

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Journal of Field Archaeology

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