Optically stimulated luminescence dating

The use of OSL dating was first proposed by Huntley et al. OSL dating of sediments yields an estimate of the time since mineral grains, such as quartz or feldspars, were last exposed to sunlight.In this instance, the duration of burial in the absence of sunlight can provide ages for site occupation, the manufacture of artifacts, and the accumulation of faunal remains, all inferred from the depositional age of the associated surrounding sediments being dated.The choice of luminescence method depends on the availability of appropriate minerals, the time period of interest, and the nature of the target event.When one technique is not suitable to a particular situation, another technique often is.The longer the duration since first exposure to radiation, the greater the amount of energy absorbed, and consequently, the greater the luminescent signal obtained, which is indicative of an older age for the material being investigated.

The basic principles of all the different luminescence dating techniques, and also electron spin resonance (ESR) dating, are the same: each relies on the effects of radiation exposure.Ages are obtained by measuring the cumulative effect of ionizing radiation on the crystal structure of certain minerals.The first archaeological application was published by Rhodes (), who used the method to analyze quartz grains from three archaeological sites (Chaperon Rouge, Skhirat, and Tahadart) in Morocco.OSL dating can also be applied to heated materials, such as burnt stones and pottery, but TL dating remains the method of choice for such materials.

Luminescence dating consists of a family of analytical methods, most of which are used in archaeological research.They can be applied to samples ranging in age from just a few years to several hundreds of thousands of years (beyond the range of radiocarbon dating), and they are, therefore, able to cover a time interval that includes important turning points in the evolution of humans.



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