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EH Luminescence Dating guidelines
Hot off the ADS press in compiled by the Aberystwyth Luminescence Lab are some extremely accessible guidelines on luminescence dating. Well worth a view for keeping up-to-date.

Gives an open account of the various aspects of this important dating tool which as yet is relatively underexploited in commercial circles but potentially very useful in all manner of situations, especially where radiocarbon datable samples are distinctly lacking...[sales pitch over]!
For some reason I can't reach the ADS link on my computer. The document is also available here:

A pdf document on the HELM website.

When I were a lad you could only date burnt things. Now it seems you can date sediments! Good stuff.
Not bad at all... w as talking about this sort of thing with Maggie today... we are doing an article for a Ukrainian dig.. and they are still relying on coins for dating.. because this sort of dating is out of their reach... imagine if this was accessible to others!

thanks for that link

?When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.?
William Blake
The coin dating may still be more effective than any radiometric date. Like dendro, it may be possible to date things to the year, whereas the best AMS-RCD will give +/- 40 yr error ranges, with basic luminescence dates typically 5-10% errors compared to the age of the sample. i.e. 2000 +/- 100 BP but quite often less. However expanding the inferences of the site into the wider landscape may be problematic/unreliable relying on coin dates.

There are lots of luminescence dating labs across the world now, with much of the best expertise based within Europe, Oz and China. Many labs will gladly send out folk to sample sites in most places, I certainly know of highly regarded specialists in Eastern Europe. These guidelines are a very useful introductory step for archaeologists wishing to broaden their dating capabilities. Almost any aeolian and most colluvial sediments will provide high-quality dates. Glacial and water-lain sediments are more complicated but not necessarily impossible. Within archaeological sediments even dating ground surfaces is becoming a real possibility. It just takes a bit of innovation.

Sediment dating has rapidly taken off since 2000, it is now a standard procedure. Ceramics and other burnt things have been dateable since at least the 70's, and new applications are developing all the time.

It may be that cost is the major element in preventing commercial archaeology or less well-off projects from benfitting from luminescence techniques, but mates rates are not unheard of. Luminescence dates are not that much more expensive than AMS radiocarbon dates. I'm not just saying that luminescence techniques are useful just because my Ph.D is based on it but it has a diverse range of applications and abilities that many archaeological dating problems could benefit from, and are currently underutilised.

I'd like to remedy that. If anyone had any queries about luminescence dating applications, I'd be more than happy to discuss techniques, labs, and various specialists that may be able to help.


Will let people know... this is... I have to say fascinating and new to me... I don't suppose you feel like writing a short (say 5-6 page guide) on the dating methodologies, when to use and what they do. and how / where to get them done?

Information is indeed a useful tool... and this is one case

?When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.?
William Blake
I'll have a ponder, collate some notes etc. Bit snowed under for the next few weeks (got to finish those labs!)

section B onwards in the luminescence guidelines (p22) is really very good for the sampling and project management.

As a beginning, Project Managers, in Scotland there is a nice central location for luminescence dating and radiocarbon dating in bonny East Kilbride. SUERC (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre) have expertise in luminescence dating, and a wide variety of other techniques. Next door is the NERC radiocarbon lab.
Smile feel no pressure andy... this would be as and when you felt .. but thanks for the starter.. I seem to have found somethign I want to know more about Smile

?When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.?
William Blake

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