Luminescence Dating Laboratory
Luminescence dating is underutilized in American archaeology given the theoretical advantages of direct dating that it confers. Recent advances in understanding the physical processes underlying the method have also made it more reliable as a dating tool. This research as well as potential applications is reviewed. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Rent this article via DeepDyve. Adams, J. The geochemistry of thorium and uranium. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 3 : — Aitken, M.
Recent Applications of Luminescence Dating in Archaeology
Perhaps the most important task of archaeology is providing a chronology for the material remains that are recovered. Any statements about how and why cultures have changed in the past are predicated on an accurate and precise chronology. Archaeologists have utilized an array of physical methods for determining age, most commonly radiocarbon dating.
Luminescence dating including thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence is a type of dating methodology that measures the amount of light emitted from energy stored in certain rock types and derived soils to obtain an absolute date for a specific event that occurred in the past. The method is a direct dating technique , meaning that the amount of energy emitted is a direct result of the event being measured.
Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating , the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time. As a result, there is no upper date limit set by the sensitivity of the method itself, although other factors may limit the method’s feasibility. To put it simply, certain minerals quartz, feldspar, and calcite , store energy from the sun at a known rate. This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral’s crystals.
Heating these crystals such as when a pottery vessel is fired or when rocks are heated empties the stored energy, after which time the mineral begins absorbing energy again. TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what “ought” to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated. In the same way, more or less, OSL optically stimulated luminescence dating measures the last time an object was exposed to sunlight.
Luminescence Dating in Archaeology, Anthropology, and Geoarchaeology: An Overview
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Half a century after the publication of the first Thermoluminescence (TL) ages, the field of Luminescence Dating has reached a level of maturity.
James K. Feathers, Vance T. Holliday , David J. The Southern High Plains of North America is rich in archaeological sites, but many are not well constrained chronologically, owing to a lack of material for radiocarbon dating. A program of optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating, applying mainly single-grain analyses, was therefore initiated.
Many samples have independent age estimates from radiocarbon to check the OSL results, but OSL age estimates are also provided for those sites that otherwise lack secure chronological control. Sediment samples for OSL were obtained primarily from Paleoindian and Archaic localities, though include deposits of more recent age. Through the analysis of single grains, equivalent dose-the numerator of the age equation-is evaluated independently on numerous grains.
The distribution of these values is relatively broad for some samples, and this is attributed to post-depositional mixing.
Luminescence dating utilises energy deposited in mineral lattices by naturally occurring ionising radiation to record information encoding chronology, depositional process information, and thermal history records in ceramics, lithics, and sedimentary materials. Precision of dating varies from sample to sample, and from context to context, depending on individual sample characteristics mineralogy, luminescence sensitivity, stability and homogeneity of the radiation environment, and the quality of initial zeroing.
A well calibrated laboratory can produce accuracy at the lower end of the precision scale. For high quality work it is important that the environmental gamma dose rates are recorded in-situ at time of excavation, which is most readily facilitated by involving the dating laboratory in fieldwork. The key importance of luminescence dating within Scottish Archaeology lies in the nature of the events represented by the various dating materials.
Luminescence dating is a scientific method which dates certain artifacts by measuring the amount of light energy they have trapped.
Rachel K. Smedley and Ann G. Luminescence dating is a geochronological tool used to determine the timing of sediment burial, pottery firing, mountain evolution, mineral formation and the exertion of pressure. The luminescence dating technique covers a large age range from modern-day to millions of years. The technique is inherently holistic, drawing upon understanding from disciplines such as physics quantum mechanics , mineralogy grain structure and composition , geochemistry natural radioactivity , archaeology and Earth sciences.
This issue brings together contributions on new and innovative luminescence dating methods and the latest findings related to Earth-surface processes and human existence. Grady Open University, UK. Since its proposal in , luminescence dating has developed into a versatile geochronological technique that can be applied to material up to 2 million years old.
The technique can be applied to grain sizes from silt to boulder, and to sediments that occur in a wide range of settings, e.
Over the last 60 years, luminescence dating has developed into a robust chronometer for applications in earth sciences and archaeology. The technique is particularly useful for dating materials ranging in age from a few decades to around ,—, years. In this chapter, following a brief outline of the historical development of the dating method, basic principles behind the technique are discussed.
Testing feldspar luminescence dating of young archaeological heated materials using potshards from Pella (Tell Tabqat Fahl) in the Jordan.
This paper aims to provide an overview concerning the optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating method and its applications for geomorphological research in France. An outline of the general physical principles of luminescence dating is given. A case study of fluvial sands from the lower terrace of the Moselle valley is then presented to describe the range of field and laboratory procedures required for successful luminescence dating. The paper also reviews the place of OSL dating in geomorphological research in France and assesses its potential for further research, by focusing on the diversity of sedimentary environments and topics to which it can be usefully applied.
Hence it underlines the increasing importance of the method to geomorphological research, especially by contributing to the development of quantitative geomorphology. They are now largely used to date not only palaeontological or organic remains, but also minerals that characterise detrital clastic sedimentary material. The most common methods applied to minerals are cosmogenic radionuclides, electron spin resonance ESR and luminescence techniques.
The latter were first applied to burned minerals from archaeological artefacts [thermoluminescence TL method]. Improvements of this technique led to the development, for more than twenty years, of the optical dating method [commonly referred to as Optically Stimuled Luminescence OSL ] which is now applied to sediments from various origins Wintle, The aim of this paper is to provide people involved in geomorphological research a global overview about the principles and procedures of optical dating, from the field sampling to the age interpretation.
Most of the publications actually focus on one part of either the method e. The general principles of the method are described first. The paper then explains how OSL dating is applied to obtain a depositional age, through the field and laboratory procedures employed. These procedures are described as clearly as possible in order to provide useful information for geomorphologists interested in the method, and illustrated by a case study that has involved luminescence dating of fluvial sands samples LUM and LUM from the lower alluvial terrace of the Moselle River M1 terrace as defined by S.
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Luminescence dating is an absolute radiometric method of determining the age of a material since a key event in its history – typically burial in the case of sediments or firing in the case of ceramics or burnt stone. When a geological sediment is buried, the effects of the incoming solar radiation are removed. With this bleaching effect removed, the influence, albeit often weak, of naturally-occurring radioactive elements primarily potassium, uranium and thorium within the sediment together with incoming cosmic rays results in the accumulation of a signal within individual mineral grains most commonly quartz and feldspars.
It is this signal that is the key to luminescence dating techniques.
Abstract: Luminescence dating is a tool frequently used for age determination of Quaternary materials such as archaeological artefacts, volcanic deposits and a.
Williams, A. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Here we present the results of a multi-phase compliance-based archaeological excavations of a new bridge crossing the Hawkesbury-Nepean River northwest Sydney. These works identified a Last Glacial Maximum LGM aeolian deposit through which a colonial era drainage system had been excavated. Historical documents reveal the construction of the system occurred between and CE. An opportunistic range-finding Optically Stimulated Luminescence OSL sample was obtained from anthropogenic trench backfill — composed of reworked LGM deposits — immediately above the drainage system.
We propose that such environments associated with large volumes of sand-rich backfill, in particular, likely heighten OSL dating success. We propose that well-documented historical archaeological sites in Australia also have the potential to provide a robust testing ground for further evaluating the accuracy of OSL dating in a range of young archaeological sedimentary contexts, potentially to sub-decadal levels.