8th Experimental Archaeology Conference abstract – Hood and Schwenninger

The minimum extraction technique: Applying optically stimulated luminescence dating to ceramic objects housed in museum collections

Amber Hood & Jean-Luc Schwenninger

Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK

Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is one of the most useful and accurate scientific dating techniques available for archaeological ceramic material. This paper seeks to introduce the minimum extraction technique (MET), a newly developed and innovative sampling methodology designed to carry out OSL dating on ceramic objects housed in museum collections. The need for using museum objects in OSL dating arises when in-situ samples cannot be collected from the field, usually due to restrictions on the exportation of archaeological material for scientific analysis from its country of origin. The benefit of the MET is that it requires only a minimal quantity of material for analysis, thus ensuring that the aesthetic and structural integrity of a museum object is upheld at all times. Although the MET is still classified as destructive analysis, in most circumstances it only requires the removal of a 2mm x 4mm sample which is
usually extracted from an inconspicuous location on the object. The MET is a new sampling method and is currently considered experimental. This paper will outline MET sampling strategy and protocols, obstacles to be overcome, and finally, it will present preliminary results obtained from an assemblage of Egyptian and Jordanian ceramics.

M. J. AITKEN, An Introduction to Optical Dating: The Dating of Quaternary Sediments by the Use of Photon-Stimulated Luminescence, Oxford, 1998.

J. K. FEATHERS, Use of Luminescence Dating in Archaeology, in Measurement Science and Technology 14 (2003), 1493−1509.

A. G. E. HOOD, J.-L. SCHWENNINGER, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating and its application to ancient Egyptian ceramics in the 21st Century, in BADER, B., KNOBLAUCH, C., AND KOHLER, E. C. (eds) Vienna II: Ancient Egyptian Ceramics in the 21st Century, OLA Vol TBC (In Press).

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