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Lecture 16

Anthropology 2229F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Thermoluminescence, Quartzite, Irradiation

Course Code
ANTH 2229F/G
Christopher Ellis

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Lecture 16 Thermoluminescence
o Trapped electron technique
o Have energy in the form of electrons that have become trapped in a
material (usually quartz or quartzite materials)
Have crystalline structure which can release energy by slowly
heating the object; as heated it gives off light
The more energy released, more light is given off
Radioactive material has an effect, e.g. K-40, Ur-238, Th-232
naturally occur in crystalline structure
o Amount of energy trapped is affected by…
Giving off of energy particles is called irradiation by
naturally occurring radioactive materials
Energy trapped is directly linked to irradiation
The more it is exposed to radiation, the more it builds
up and irradiates
o Problems/Requirements:
Natural radiation levels vary
Dosimeter placed in the site for a few years to see the
natural radioactivity of the surrounding matrix,
important to control for
Measuring the last time the object was heated, not the actual
Need objects that contain quartz or other crystalline minerals
Need to be heated by human activities
E.g. pottery
Some conditions where electrons can bleed out of the sample
E.g. sunlight and artificial light can cause electron loss
Very time consuming and expensive technique to use
Rely on as many sources of data to ensure accuracy!!
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