Radiocarbon dating and thermoluminescence use
Should I be concerned about artificial irradiation? If the radioactivity of the pottery itself, and its surroundings, is measured, the dose rate, or annual increment of dose, may be computed.
Warning about fakes using ancient materials What about airport x-rays and radiography? Thus, when one measures dose in pottery, it is the dose accumulated since it was fired, unless there was a subsequent reheating.
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The age of the pottery, in principle, may then be determined by the relation Age = Accumulated dose / Dose per year Although conceptually straightforward, TL has proven to to be far from simple in practice.
Age analyses of materials and sherds from several sites are shown in this work.
C beta counting on associated material, accelerator mass spectrometry on carbon traces on and within the sherd, thermoluminescence studies on minerals within the sherd, and stylistic form.
Most mineral materials, including the constituents of pottery, have the property of thermoluminescence (TL), where part of the energy from radioactive decay in and around the mineral is stored (in the form of trapped electrons) and later released as light upon strong heating (as the electrons are detrapped and combine with lattice ions).
It is an absolute dating method, and does not depend on comparison with similar objects (as does obsidian hydration dating, for example).
Effects of firing temperature on the fate of naturally occurring organic matter in clays.
Application of this method of age determination is limited to those periods of pottery and fired clay availability ( from about 6000 BC to the present). Radiocarbon WEB-info Provides a large international listing of laboratories that do radiocarbon dating; information on radiocarbon dating; publications and references; and educational materials. The Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), gives no endorsements for any products, materials or services mentioned in this pamphlet and is not responsible for problems from their use or misuse.
MCI does not make any warranty, expressed or implied; does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information or process disclosed; nor represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.
From the inside out: Upscaling organic residue analyses of archaeological ceramics. A combination of at least two independent techniques is indispensable for the highest level of confidence.
Each technique has its own frequently encountered non-laboratory sources of error.
To obtain a truly absolute chronology, corrections must be made, provided by measurements on samples of know age.