Explain the process of thermoluminescence dating
Radiocarbon dating is predicated on the assumption that the level of C in the atmosphere at the time and that these levels of both biosphere and atmosphere are consistent over the entire globe.It is now known that this is not the case, and that there are localised reservoir effects which need to be compensated for in the calibration process.This unstable isotope of Carbon then enters the food chain, and in doing so, forms part of all organic matter (Bayliss et al. Broadly speaking, anything that was once alive can therefore theoretically have measured the levels of radiocarbon it now contains.It is also possible to obtain radiocarbon determinations from inorganic materials if the process of producing the finished state includes the incorporation of carbon; examples of where this might be possible is the application of lime mortar as carbon dioxide is absorbed by the surface when the mortar hardens (Bowman 19).
Inaccuracies derived from these two sources cannot be effectively dealt with by multiple readings, as in the case of inaccuracies introduced by incorrect measurement, and so must be estimated and compensated for (Ramsey 2009).
In reality, there are difficulties associated with the processing and measurement of certain materials, which reduces the applicability of this technique.
For example, bone samples without enough remaining collagen had to be disregarded in a radiocarbon dating exercise targeting the Cotswold-Severn Long Barrows (Smith & Brickley 2006).
alignments analysis Anglo-Saxon assumptions black-earth site bristol Bronze Age causewayed enclosure caves Cheddar Cirencester empathy environmental evolution of ideas fieldwork hilltop enclosure humanity industrial archaeology innovation interpreting the interpretations Iron Age LBA-EIA Transition long barrow mechanisms Medieval Mendips mesolithic midden neolithic nerding paleolithic post-medieval questions reading rock art Roman science surveying technological change trends in interpretation understanding urban archaeology Wales WANHS AFG Wiltshire This essay will consider both the inherent strengths and weaknesses of Radiocarbon dating and Dendrochronology, and also the ways in which these techniques can be applied inappropriately.
As might be expected, each of the techniques has limitations and conditions under which it can be applied; it is when the technique is applied to conditions outside these limitations, perhaps for reasons of interpretative determinism, that the integrity of the technique is undermined.
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One of the problems with the radiocarbon dating of ecofacts, or of small artefacts found within soil, is that of bioturbation.