Luminescence dating with paleodose and dose rate estimation


David Strebler and Franz Hartung are Ph. D. students in Project F2 “Application of Luminescence and Electron-Spin-Resonance-Dating in Geoarchaeological Studies” of the CRC 806 at the Institute of Geography at the University of Cologne.

David Strebler

David Strebler

I studied Physics engineering and archaeology at the ULB (Brussels), then archaeological science in the University of Oxford. I wrote a Master thesis on 3D imaging analysis applied to archaeology before focusing on luminescence dating. My last project was on OSL dating of medieval and modern bricks in the Oxford Luminescence Lab. I showed that accurate dating is possible even for quite recent bricks (less than a hundred years). Now I am employed as a research associate at project F2 and work on TL dating of heated silex.


Franz Hartung

I studied Physics at the TU Dresden. I wrote my Diploma thesis in the Radiation Physics Group (ASP) of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IKTP). I dealt with the development and characterization of a test-setup that is able to read out a 2-dimensional area of a BeO-OSL-dosimeter with spatial resolution. Thus it is possible to detect patterns created by spatial distributed doses. Now I am employed as a research associate at project F2 and work on dose rate estimation.

David Strebler and Franz Hartung both work on further improvement of luminescence dating. Luminescence dating is an effective method of age determination. It can be applied to any material containing quartz or feldspar, like sediments, pottery or burnt silex. Depending on the material, samples up to 500,000 years old can be dated.

Quartz and feldspar act as natural dosimeters. They store energy when they are irradiated and release it as light when they are heated or exposed to light. This excitation resets the signal. In the first case it is called thermoluminescence (TL), in the second, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). The radiation comes from the radioelements naturally present in the soil, like uranium, thorium and potassium. The intensity of the signal is proportional to the age of the last resetting event, generally the firing for the potteries or the heated silex and the last exposure to sunlight for the sediments.

The essential parts of luminescence dating are to make the latent signal visible and evaluable, which is the palaeodose estimation, as well as to determine the dose rate occurring in the sediment, which is the annual dose estimation.

In this talk an insight to luminescence as a dating technique will be given. After a brief overview on the technique, David will focus on the palaeodose estimation and especially its specificities when TL dating is applied to heated silex. Then, Franz will talk about the origination and the measurability of radiation in the sediments. He will focus on dose rate determination and the parameters affecting the dose rate, such as water content or inhomogeneous distributed sediments. Finally, they will explain how to take samples for luminescence dating in the field and what are the limitations of the technique.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 02/06/2014, 16:00 h – 17:30 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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