Rehydroxylation dating

mass gain, the latter providing a more satisfactory description of the mass gain curves.

Despite this, the estimated ages are generally too old for agreement with known ages; the magnitude of the discrepancies suggests issues beyond the particular models used.

Wilson et al looked at this in a paper from 2003, An equation y=x¼ which flattens as you move right. In everyday terms it means that equal amounts of mass are taken up on a ratio of 1, 16, 81, 256…

So if it takes a day (or a week, or a month) for a ceramic to increase by 1 gramme of mass then it will have increased by 2 grammes from its start weight after 16 days (weeks, months etc), 3 grammes after 81 days and so on.

Organic matter contamination is also present in significant quantities in all samples, regardless of the retrieval context; the considerable effects of uncertainties in this quantity, arising from variability in the organic matter to organic carbon ratio (OM/OC), on age estimations are presented.

Mineral alteration during reheating is generally negligible except when gypsum is present; large sources of uncertainty arising from moisture loss associated with dehydration and with subsequently lower levels of physisorption following reheating are highlighted as problematic.

Methods for treating this issue are applied and demonstrate the need for higher resolution and more precise monitoring of the mass loss during drying if the moisture not removed needs to be taken account of; this may not be necessary if prolonged drying is associated with the slow removal of chemisorbed water, distinct from rehydroxylation-related water loss.

You leave it here for a while to make sure the sample is dry and you’re not weighing any excess water. The microbalance is highly accurate, measuring the weight down to /- 0.1 μg.

When you’re satisfied it’s dry, you weigh it to get the aged weight. That’s 0.0000001 grammes (or around 0.000000004 ounces if you prefer).

A team mainly based at Manchester University have announced that they can date ceramic materials, such as pottery, tile and brick, through a process called rehydroxylation.

It seems to be simpler than both thermoluminesence and radiocarbon dating and much harder to accidentally contaminate.

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