Dating archaeological deposits

Radiocarbon, or Carbon-14, dating is probably one of the most widely used and best known absolute dating methods. Radiocarbon dating relies on a simple natural phenomenon. This allowed for the establishment of world-wide chronologies.Currently the primary materials of interest are sediments from prehistoric sites and ceramic materials from medieval buildings and structures.

Contact Prof Ian Bailiff (email at [email protected]) After reading physics at Sussex University Ian Bailiff joined the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford as a postgraduate student and subsequently submitted a research MSc on the development of new luminescence dating techniques.

Following a further year working on an instrument development project he came to Durham in 1979 as a research assistant on a pottery dating project; following a series of appointments as a Research Fellow he was awarded an SERC Advanced Fellowship, and in 1991 was appointed a Lecturer. He has developed a luminescence dating laboratory with the capability to support both dating and methodological investigation, and his research has included the study of the luminescence properties of minerals, their application to dating and also to radiation dosimetry.

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Bordeaux III), Tom Gurling (now at the Royal Museums Greenwich) on the dating of brick in medieval and early modern buildings in Essex (an AHRC Collaborative Award with English Heritage), paying particular attention to the reuse of brick.

Gillian Hutton’s thesis on roads and routeways in County Durham included exploratory work on the dating of road surfaces.

Another way that precise dating can be achieved is if the artist records the actual date of his or her creation, the name of a leader of known reign, or a distinctive historical event, like the inscription shown in the previous chapter about King Yousif Assar Yathar’s invasion of the Najran region in 518 CE.

Then, however, it must be clear that the artist is referring to his or her own time, and not providing historical commentary.

In archaeological terminology, there are two categories of dating methods: absolute and relative.

Absolute dating utilizes one or more of a variety of chronometric techniques to produce a computed numerical age, typically with a standard error.

In collaborative work with statistical specialists (Andrew Millard and Michael Goldstein) Bayesian analysis has been applied to the calculation and analysis of luminescence ages and Jeremy Disley is currently developing further the work completed by Alicia Huntriss (EPSRC CASE studentship with English Heritage).

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