Dating Methods: Providing chronology to the past.
IN 792 Seminar
Supervisor: Prof. C N Pandey
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCES CENTER
Absolute Dating Methods
TL and OSL Dating
Fission Track Dating
Electron spin resonance Dating
Rehydroxylation [RHX] dating
Developed by Willard Libby in 1940s
Also known as Radiocarbon dating (use
properties of radioactive isotope of
Used to date organic substances- bone,
cloth, wood, plant fibres.
Can only date specimens up to about
60,000 years old
14 C half life= 5730 years
Calibration for older dates= conversion
to calendar years because atmospheric
14C/12C ratio is not constant
measurement- beta counting replaced
by Accelerator Mass spectrometer
Timeline- 4 billion years
Dates rock 60,000 years old and older
Half life of radioactive potassium (40K= 1330 million
years). 40 K decays to 40 Ar at known rate.
Scientists determine the age of the rock (rich in
potassium) surrounding the fossil to determine the
Used only for inorganic substances (igneous rocks )
Scientists measure the amount of argon in the rock to
determine its age
Uranium series dating is a radiometric dating technique
commonly used to determine the age of calcium carbonate
materials such as speleothem or coral.
These methods are based on the radioactive decay of
isotopes of uranium.
The process where by a radioactive isotope of uranium 238
U+ decays into 235 U+ is calculated.
The date is determined based on the amount of 235 U+ that
had accumulated through radioactive decay.
TL- OSL Dating
It measures the amount of light emitted from energy stored in certain rock
types and derived soils to obtain an absolute date for a specific event that
occurred in the past- burnt flint and ceramics
Thermoluminescence –the object has been exposed to temperatures
between 400 and 500C; and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), which
measures energy emitted after an object has been exposed to daylight
Emit stored energy while heating/exposed to light
Fission track Method
many minerals and natural
glasses contain minimal
quantities of uranium
Detectable damaged tracks
The age of substance can be determined by measuring
the dosage of radiation since the time of its formation.
broad range of materials, such as quartz, mollusc
shells, corals, speleothems and fossil tooth enamel.
• Range 2.6mya
Multi Proxy Analysis
Lack of material (only certain material can be dated)
Understanding theoretical concepts of Dating methods
Relative dating method
• Comparative Age
• Low precision
• Qualitiative measurement
• Works better for sedimentary rocks having layered arrangement of sediments
• Less-expensive and efficient
Absolute dating method
• Numerical Age
• High Precision
• Works better for igneous and metamorphic rocks
• Expensive and takes time
Taking IN project on OSL Dating next
Lab training at NFSU Gandhinagar
“Archaeological Dating – Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.” Accessed September 21, 2022. https://www.crowcanyon.org/education/learn-about-archaeology/archaeological-dating/.
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HARDING, J. R. “DATING: A Summary of Methods and Some Recent Developments.” The Journal of the Polynesian Society 64, no. 1 (1955): 102–12.
Jungner, Hogne. “DATING IN ARCHAEOLOGY.” Fennoscandia Archaeologica XII (January 1, 1995): 37–38.
Killick, David, and Suzanne Young. “Archaeology and Archaeometry: From Casual Dating to a Meaningful Relationship?” Antiquity 71 (September 1, 1997): 518–24.
McBeth, Joyce, Karla Panchuk, Tim Prokopiuk, Lyndsay Hauber, and Sean Lacey. “Overview of Relative and Absolute Dating,” January 8, 2020.
Michels, Joseph W. “Dating Methods.” Annual Review of Anthropology 1 (1972): 113–26.
Tarbuck, Edward J., Frederick K. Lutgens, and Dennis G. Tasa. Earth Science, Global Edition. Pearson Education, 2015.
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Watchman, A. L, and C. R Twidale. “Relative and ‘Absolute’ Dating of Land Surfaces.” Earth-Science Reviews 58, no. 1 (July 1, 2002): 1–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-8252(01)00080-
Watchman, A.L., and C. Twidale. “Relative and ‘absolute’ Dating of Land Surfaces.” Earth-Science Reviews 58 (July 1, 2002). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-8252(01)00080-0.
Zarean, Kimia. “Archaeological Dating.” December 1, 2019.
Accessed September 21, 2022. https://www.bing.com/search?q=Tarbuck+and+Lutgens+text%2C+pages+262+-