Thermoluminescence dating TL is the determination, by means of measuring the accumulated radiation dose, of the time elapsed since material containing crystalline minerals was either heated lava , ceramics or exposed to sunlight sediments. As a crystalline material is heated during measurements, the process of thermoluminescence starts. Thermoluminescence emits a weak light signal that is proportional to the radiation dose absorbed by the material. It is a type of luminescence dating. Sediments are more expensive to date. It will often work well with stones that have been heated by fire.
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There are many different methods that are used to determine the age of archaeological artifacts, and each method measures something the others cannot. To name a few; radiocarbon dating measures the decay of carbon in biological substances, obsidian hydration measures the amount of water absorbed by an artifact made of obsidian, and thermoluminescence measures the stored energy in the lattice of stone. Each method is completely different from the next but all of them find the same thing. The first observations of thermoluminescence were made in in a paper written by Robert Boyle to the Royal Society.
Related to thermoluminescence: thermoluminescence dosimetry. A phenomenon in which certain minerals release previously absorbed radiation upon being moderately heated. All rights reserved.