Luminescence dating accuracy
The error limits on the dates obtained are typically in the range of 5 to 10%.Our standard cost for OSL dating is £550 VAT per sample but prices can vary depending on the nature and number of samples (see our schedule of charges).Contamination from earlier or later layers can sometimes misrepresent the correct age of the sediment, hence the age-estimates for the associated artefacts may be inaccurate.Some sites that were originally dated using luminescence have since been re-examined and found to be older or younger than initially thought.There are two types of luminescence dating: thermoluminescence (TL) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL).Both measure the number of trapped electrons that have accumulated in quartz (sand) grains since the last time they were exposed to sunlight.The age range for pottery and other ceramics covers the entire period in which these materials have been produced.The typical range for burnt stone or sediment is from about 100 to 300,000 years.
Many older sites in Australia are being dated using a combination of luminescence and radiocarbon, to ensure the accuracy of dates.
Both assumptions become less realistic with the passage of time.
Another problem with the TMRD is the calibration of the detector, since different crystals in an artifact can contain different amounts and/or types of luminescence material.
Postgraduate students registered for a degree course within a UK university which does not house a luminescence laboratory may be eligible to apply for an award through a joint scheme set up with the Quaternary Research Association (
Likewise, projects central to the Laboratory's research interests may be carried out at a reduced charge.
For example, a lithium fluoride crystal can preferentially respond to gamma thermal neutron, beta proton, or alpha particle radiation depending on whether it is constructed from The constancy of the RDR is even more problematic because it’s based on the uniformitarian assumption that the RDR has been constant.