In order to successfully understand the complex evolution of prehistoric societies, archaeologists require absolute dating tools, which are not only accurate but also widely applicable. Thermoluminescence (TL) dating is one such approach that has been successfully used to establish a general chronological framework for prehistoric sites and is particularly suited for use on heated lithic artefacts. Experiments conducted in this study have clearly shown the applicability of Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) isothermal modelling in combination with TL dating to constrain firing temperature. This expands the potential application for TL dating to include artefacts treated at low firing temperatures. The present study shows potential in terms of precision and accuracy for framing the “equivalent firing temperature”. At the same time, the comparison of the TL signal with the lattice-defects and aluminium centres invigorate the use of ESR dating on heated flint, especially with samples that have received low thermal treatment. The presence of organic matter in large quantity raises concern on the pyrolysis effect on the luminescence signal; however, the use of ESR isothermal and isochronal modelling could potentially lead to the ability to overcome current interferences of the organic radicals within the dating signal of TL.
Joannes-Boyau, R, Scheffers, A, Chapoulie, R, Lahaye, C, Parr, J, Orange, M, Moffat, I & Guibert, P 2014, 'Thermal behaviour of organic radicals and paramagnetic centres in chert: a case study of Bergeracois brown chert, Dordogne, France', Quaternary Geochronology, vol. 23, pp. 26-34.
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