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).
The loss of TL at 310°C and the concomitant growth and decay of the photo-transferred TL (PTTL) at both 110 and 160°C are presented for optical stimulation of up to 200 s in a Risø TL/OSL reader. The thermoluminescence technique is the only physical means of determining the absolute age of pottery presently available. General references Links to other useful sites BACK TO HOME PAGE HOW DOES THERMOLUMINESCENCE DATING WORK?This phenomenon has been applied in the thermoluminescent dosimeter, a device to measure the radiation dose received by a chip of suitable material that is carried by a person or placed with an object.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.