The older the pottery, the more radiation it has absorbed and the brighter the pottery sample glows.
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Sample discs are mounted on a wheel and the readers are programmed to run heating and irradiation sequences.
The TL is measured using a sensitive detector called a photomultiplier tube.
The error limits on the dates obtained are typically in the range of 5 to 10%.
Our standard cost for OSL dating is £550 VAT per sample but prices can vary depending on the nature and number of samples (see our schedule of charges).
Because this accumulation of trapped electrons begins with the formation of the crystal structure, thermoluminescence can date crystalline materials to their date of formation; for ceramics, this is the moment they are fired.
The major source of error in establishing dates from thermoluminescence is a consequence of inaccurate measurements of the radiation acting on a specimen.
When a small sample of ancient pottery is heated it glows with a faint blue light, known as thermoluminescence or TL.
During its lifetime the pottery absorbs radiation from its environment and it is this which creates thermoluminescence.
Thermoluminescence Dating Thermoluminescence can be used to date materials containing crystalline minerals to a specific heating event.
This is useful for ceramics, as it determines the date of firing, as well as for lava, or even sediments that were exposed to substantial sunlight.
Some of this energy is stored in the constituent minerals of the clay either by the creation of new lattice defects or by the filling of existing impurity traps.