Luminescence dating method

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.

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Luminescence dating quantifies the radiation exposure experienced by target minerals (usually quartzes or feldspars) from the sample as an “equivalent dose”, measured in Grays (Gy), and representing the mean radiation dose which would reproduce the observed natural signal levels of the sample as prepared in the laboratory.

The “dose rate”, measured in m Gy/a, is determined by combining field and laboratory analyses of the levels of naturally occurring radionuclides and cosmic radiation with an appropriate microdosimetric model for the mineral phase in question.

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.

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).

Typically precisions of ± 2-10% of age can be achieved with 5% dating precision representing a reasonable target for general purposes.5th-9th December 2016, Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory (ALRL), Aberystwyth University, UK Course presented by: Prof Helen Roberts, Prof Geoff Duller and Prof Stephen Tooth Luminescence dating is a rapidly evolving field, and increasingly encompasses a range of techniques and signals used to derive a numerical chronology.The choice of luminescence technique selected for dating depends upon the materials available for dating, the timescale being considered, the precision required, and the depositional setting from which the sample is taken.Après une présentation des principes physiques généraux, les procédures mises en œuvre aussi bien sur le terrain qu’en laboratoire sont abordées, à partir de l’exemple des analyses réalisées sur des alluvions sableuses issues d’une basse terrasse de la Moselle.La place des datations OSL dans la recherche géomorphologique en France et son potentiel pour les recherches futures sont décrits à travers une présentation de la diversité des environnements sédimentaires et des problématiques pouvant être traités.This course seeks to provide practical training for participants wishing to design and undertake their own luminescence dating projects applied to archaeological and geological sedimentary deposits, and those who wish to gain a better understanding of the method in order to be able to assess published data.