Optical dating techniques
Similarly, pollen grains released by seed-bearing plants became fossilized in rock layers.
If a certain kind of pollen is found in an archaeological site, scientists can check when the plant that produced that pollen lived to determine the relative age of the site.
Aitken has set out to offer an understanding of the basic principles and procedures in optical dating, as well as its scope and limitations. As such increasing numbers of Quaternary geologists, physical geographers, archaeologists, and anthropologists are now relying on the results produced.
The text is divided into three parts: main text, technical notes and appendices. This method has developed slowly since 1985, and much about it is explained in clear . Although new retired from active research, he has provided for the lay reader a thorough review of the most important recent advance in the field; the use of photon-stimulated luminescence for dating Quaternary sediments, or optical dating.Optical dating is a rapidly developing technique, used primarily in the dating of sediments deposited in the last 500,000 or more years, and increasing numbers of Quaternary geologists, physical geographers, archaeologists, and anthropologists are now relying on the results. [M]uch recent effort has been devoted to varieties of trapped-charge dating, which depends broadly on the accumulation of incident energy by electrons.Written by one of the foremost experts on optical dating, this book aims to bring together in a coherent whole the various strands of research that are ongoing in the area. Thermoluminescence (TL) and electron spin resonance (ESR) methods have been important in dating heated stone tools and buried tooth enamel, especially in the context of early modern humans and Neanderthals during the last few hundred thousand years.In this way the main text is accessible to researchers with a limited knowledge of physics, while the technical notes provide the details for anyone wishing to understand the techniques completely. This is potentially one of the most powerful dating techniques available to the geoarchaeologist.