post 1700 AD, early Iron Age contexts, late glacial timescales) and when the relationship between the organic materials and the archaeological context is uncertain.
The particular advantage of luminescence dating is that the method provides a date for the archaeological artefact or deposit itself, rather than for organic material in assumed association.
Optically-Stimulated Luminescence is a late Quaternary dating technique used to date the last time quartz sediment was exposed to light.
As sediment is transported by wind, water, or ice, it is exposed to sunlight and zeroed of any previous luminescence signal.
As a result, there is no upper date limit set by the sensitivity of the method itself, although other factors may limit the method's feasibility.
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.
In the case of OSL sediment dating, suitable material (sand or silt-sized grains of quartz and feldspar) is usually available ubiquitously throughout the site.
The age range for pottery and other ceramics covers the entire period in which these materials have been produced.
A certain percent of the freed electrons become trapped in defects or holes in the crystal lattice of the quartz sand grain (referred to as luminescent centers) and accumulate over time (Aitken, 1998).
In our laboratory, these sediments are exposed to an external stimulus (blue-green light) and the trapped electrons are released.