Using R for TL dating


David Strebler is a PhD-Candidate of the CRC 806 in the Project F2 – Application of Luminescence and Electron-Spin-Resonance-Dating in Geoarchaeological Studies. During our last presentation within the IRTG, Franz and I gave an extended introduction to luminescence dating and the proper sampling. Today, after a short reminder on how luminescence works, we will present the progress of our research during the last year.

My project is on the improvement of luminescence

David Strebler

David Strebler, Project F2

dating burnt flint. During the first phase of the CRC 806, a similar project was carried out by Dr. Christoph Schmidt (presently at the University of Bayreuth).
During his PhD, Christoph focused on the application of OSL to date burnt flint, and how to properly assess the dose rate to which the quartz grains were exposed. He dated numerous Palaeolithic sites of the CRC, including Romanesti-Dumbravita, Sodmein Cave and Las Palomas. I have instead focused on exploring how luminescence dating of burnt flint can be made easier.
A major limitation to the application of TL dating has been the lack of software specifically designed to process TL data. Although the widely used Analyst software does enable some TL data analysis, it has a range of limitations especially concerning the pretreatment of these data (i.e. background subtraction and peak alignment). In 2012, an R package especially designed for luminescence dating was published. This package is an excellent tool for statistical analysis, data treatment and plotting of luminescence data. However, as yet it focuses almost solely on OSL dating. Recently, a team of researchers from Lausanne, Oxford and Aberystwyth uploaded a very useful, and powerful, online application to estimate the annual dose absorbed by a sample called DRAC. However, once again, this tool is primary designed for sediment dating.
Over the past two years I have developed a second R package, fully compatible with the existing Luminescence package but focusing on TL rather than OSL. This new package includes tools to realize the pretreatment of TL data and to estimate the De using both the MAAD and the SAR protocols. It will also include a function extending the use of the DRAC application to flint and material with a similar special configuration like ceramics.
Finally, when studying new materials or those with different origins using luminescence, it is not always easy to choose which optical filters to use. A small software designed to combine different filters already exists but is only compatible with windows 98. Therefore, I decided to create a small R package to help with selecting the best filter combination depending on the material and the filters available.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 01/02/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S22, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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