Because stone is so resilient, the most common and obvious remains of Palaeolithic material culture are stone tools, quarries, and stone arrangements and megaliths, yet they have remained inherently difficult to date via geochronological techniques. This project has two general aims that will address this problem. First we will apply existing and recently developed methods based on optically stimulated luminescence OSL in novel ways to develop approaches that can be used to date the use of lithic quarries, the construction of stone arrangements and megaliths, and the accumulation of surface artefact scatters. The second aim of this project is to apply these approaches to resolve two questions in contexts where more classical approaches have failed: when was the high altitude core of the Tibetan Plateau permanently colonised by Palaeolithic humans and how did continent-wide Australian stone arrangement culture develop temporally? The new approaches developed in this project will enable archaeologists to research accessible and new types of sites. Likewise, the numerical chronologies for central-Tibetan occupation and Australian stone arrangement construction will be valuable contributions to regional- and global-scale archaeological discussions.
Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating
This trapped signal is light sensitive and builds up over time during a period of no light exposure during deposition or burial but when exposed to light natural sunlight or artificial light in a laboratory the signal is released from the traps in the form of light — called luminescence. In this facility we aim to sample these minerals found in all sediments without exposing them to light so that we can stimulate the trapped signal within controlled laboratory conditions with heat thermoluminescence — TL or light optically stimulated-luminescence — OSL.
As most sedimentary processes or events are based on the deposition of sediment these depositional ages are critical to geomorphological research.
The Luminescence Dating Facility at Victoria University of Wellington is the only one of Aeolianite, calcrete/microbialite and karst in southwestern Australia as.
Put simply, OSL dating techniques gives us an estimate of the time since mineral grains were last exposed to sunlight. Professor Jacobs used her OSL dating technique to analyse 28, individual grains of quartz from Madjebebe , which revealed groundbreaking information about the arrival of the first modern humans in Australia. Little grains moving around in the landscape are like little batteries. Sand gets buried in the archeological site and builds up energy. Scientists go into the site and take the sample in the dark, because of course if the samples are exposed to light, the signal is reset.
Samples are taken back to the lab and carefully handled in darkroom conditions. Scientists can then determine how much energy was stored in that single grain since it was last exposed to sunlight. Professor Jacobs and her team analysed 28, samples from Madjebebe, which dated the archeologically significant site at at least 65, years old. Dating the samples was a very labour-intensive project that relied on a highly skilled team in the lab to work through various stages of preparation and measurement.
An assessment of the luminescence sensitivity of Australian quartz with respect to sediment history
Recent debate over the initial occupation of the Jinmium rock shelter, in the Kimberley region in far northwestern Australia, has highlighted some of the challenges involved in using thermoluminescence TL to date sediments in sandstone rockshelters. The original dating of the Jinmium site published by Fullagar, Price and Head suggested the possibility of initial site occupation over , years ago. The younger figure conforms with middle range theory Flood and the conventional understanding of the Indigenous colonisation of Australia e.
Allen and Holdaway However, there are problems involved with using TL to determine age for sediments in sandstone rockshelters. This paper will discuss how some of these problems may have biased the original TL dates.
At about the same time newer thermoluminescence (TL), optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), electron spin resonance (ESR), amino acid racemization (AAR).
Our research uses a variety of analytical methods from the earth sciences to address key questions in archaeological science in Australia and worldwide, and the deep history of Indigenous cultures. The Archaeological Science Theme, led by Professor Rachel Popelka-Filcoff , Kimberley Foundation Minderoo Chair in Archaeological Science, brings together dating techniques, geochemical, paleomagnetic, mineralogical and isotopic analyses, palynology and geomicrobiological methods to bear on important problems of the deep history of Indigenous cultures in Australia and elsewhere.
Our interdisciplinary work spans cultures and geography to understand key questions around the age, history, provenance, technology and composition of cultural heritage materials and sites and those who created them, and brings together scientists, humanities and social science scholars and communities. Research currently includes a large multi-disciplinary project to date the remarkable Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, in collaboration with archaeologists, traditional owners and other researchers in Australia and elsewhere.
The work is based on radiocarbon dating of mud wasp nests, uranium-series dating of surface mineral accretions, cosmogenic radionuclide dating of rock falls and optically stimulated luminescence dating of large mud-wasp nest complexes that are related to the previously established rock art sequence. The work also involves detailed studies of the geomorphologic evolution of rock shelters, the mineralogy and geochemistry of rock surface processes, and catchment-wide landscape evolution patterns.
New research is being undertaken to identify the origins and movements of Australian archaeological ochre through the development of a novel tool combining genomic and chemical analysis. This project hopes to answer significant questions about past human behaviour, in terms of trade, cultural interactions, territoriality and colonisation. This collaboration of analytical chemists, archaeologists and genomic scientists and collaboration with Indigenous communities works with advanced methods in compositional analysis, genomic sequencing and experimental archaeology.
Research is also being conducted on important prehistoric sites in Laos and Cambodia , and a variety of palaeoenvironmental studies. Current research in Cambodia is focussed on Iron Age societies and the emergence of socio-political complexity prior to the rise of the Angkorian state. Research in progress includes the isotopic analysis of ancient human skeletal material to investigate residential mobility and resource acquisition strategies, the creation of isotopic baseline maps and compositional analyses of material culture.
This interdisciplinary research includes isotopic analyses of skeletal material found buried around the megaliths, analysis and conservation of material culture, optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments beneath the jars to gauge the period of emplacement, and remote sensing to record the sites and geo-reference the megaliths for spatial analysis and ongoing conservation measures.
Kimberley rock art dating project
An extensive series of 44 radiocarbon 14 C and 37 optically stimulated luminescence OSL ages have been obtained from the site of Riwi, south central Kimberley NW Australia. As one of the earliest known Pleistocene sites in Australia, with archaeologically sterile sediment beneath deposits containing occupation, the chronology of the site is important in renewed debates surrounding the colonization of Sahul. Charcoal is preserved throughout the sequence and within multiple discrete hearth features.
Resources home v2. Introduction Services Prices. Application Central for samples up to about Lund containing quartz. Technical Geography Laboratory All sediments contain trace minerals including uranium, thorium and potassium. Water Content Calibration Water within the soil has an attenuating effect on the ambient radiation.
Consequently, samples analysed without price of their water content or using a low estimate of water content will return ages younger than samples corrected for this luminescence. Similarly, inaccurate estimates of pore water salinity will dramatically affect the results. Price The limiting factor in the age range for luminescence dating is the ‘saturation’ of the signal at large price rates i. Accurate age determination therefore becomes increasingly difficult for older samples and there is a loss in dating precision an increase in central uncertainty.
The point at which a sample becomes saturated depends on the holiday rate of the sample.
Luminescence dating facility
The age is obtained by measuring the radiation dose received by the sample since it was last bleached by sunlight and dividing this estimate by the dose rate from environmental sources of ionising radiation. Past and present research interests span a wide geographic compass, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, and topics as diverse as the evolution and behaviour of humans Homo sapiens, Homo floresiensis and Homo neanderthalensis , their response to climatic changes over the past , years, and their interaction with the indigenous fauna and flora.
Oral Traditions and Volcanic Eruptions in Australia. dating of charcoal and/or optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of quartz grains.
Check out our specialist facilities below, which assist us in our quest of understanding hominin evolution and the development of modern humans. We have facilities for generating high-resolution molds and casts, histological thin sectioning of hard tissues and high-resolution imaging using stereo microscopy and polarised light microscopy.
We also have a low-speed peripheral saw, wire saw, grinder, polisher and custom-built section press. Additional analytical tools include a drying oven for embedding samples, as well as a MicroMill for high-resolution milling to recover sample powder for chemical and isotopic analysis. Professor Tanya Smith. The ESR –dating laboratory comprises two distinct areas:. Dr Mathieu Duval. Professor Jon Olley.
Exploring pedogenesis via nuclide-based soil production rates and OSL-based bioturbation rates
This study provides a preliminary systematic characterisation of OSL sensitivity, with respect to sediment history, of single grains of Australian quartz from a variety of source rocks and depositional contexts. Samples from two distinct lithologies and with relatively short modern sedimentary histories were compared in an examination of the influence of rock type on OSL sensitivity.
Sediments derived from weathered sandstone were found to be brighter than those from metamorphosed schists, suggesting that sensitivity may be inherited from the source rock and its earlier sedimentary history. Secondly, quartz from the same source, but different modes of deposition, was compared to assess the effect on sensitivity of nature of exposure to light during the most recent bleaching event. Quartz grain sensitivity appears not to vary depending on the mode of sediment deposition, suggesting that the nature of exposure to light during deposition is less important in the sensitisation process.
This study highlights the complexity and variety of natural sedimentary quartz, demonstrating the limitations of an investigation based solely on OSL sensitivity.
Put simply, OSL dating techniques gives us an estimate of the time since information about the arrival of the first modern humans in Australia.
This paper aims to provide an overview concerning the optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating method and its applications for geomorphological research in France. An outline of the general physical principles of luminescence dating is given. A case study of fluvial sands from the lower terrace of the Moselle valley is then presented to describe the range of field and laboratory procedures required for successful luminescence dating. The paper also reviews the place of OSL dating in geomorphological research in France and assesses its potential for further research, by focusing on the diversity of sedimentary environments and topics to which it can be usefully applied.
Hence it underlines the increasing importance of the method to geomorphological research, especially by contributing to the development of quantitative geomorphology. They are now largely used to date not only palaeontological or organic remains, but also minerals that characterise detrital clastic sedimentary material. The most common methods applied to minerals are cosmogenic radionuclides, electron spin resonance ESR and luminescence techniques. The latter were first applied to burned minerals from archaeological artefacts [thermoluminescence TL method].
Improvements of this technique led to the development, for more than twenty years, of the optical dating method [commonly referred to as Optically Stimuled Luminescence OSL ] which is now applied to sediments from various origins Wintle, The aim of this paper is to provide people involved in geomorphological research a global overview about the principles and procedures of optical dating, from the field sampling to the age interpretation.
Most of the publications actually focus on one part of either the method e. The general principles of the method are described first. The paper then explains how OSL dating is applied to obtain a depositional age, through the field and laboratory procedures employed.
Oral Traditions and Volcanic Eruptions in Australia
Beach ridges that form during seaward migration of a shoreline indicate the successive positions of past shorelines; their age and distribution can therefore provide a geological record of past coastal changes Tamura, Because beach-ridge deposits generally lack material suitable for radiocarbon dating e. The Yumigahama Peninsula is a sandy coastal barrier with a well-developed sequence of beach ridges Sadakata,
we test the application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating to quartz sand from Holocene relict foredunes at Guichen Bay, South Australia (Fig.
Boulder, Colo. A lack of ceramic artifacts and permanent structures has resulted in a scarcity of dateable archaeological sites older than about 10, years. The strong oral traditions of Australian Aboriginal peoples have enabled perpetuation of ecological knowledge across many generations and can likely provide additional archeological insights. Some surviving traditions allude to different geological events, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and meteorite impacts. It has been proposed that some of these traditions may have been transmitted for thousands of years.
The Newer Volcanic Province of southeastern Australia contains over basaltic eruption centers, a number of which are thought to have erupted within the last , years, although precise ages remain elusive for most. Rare reported occurrences of archaeological evidence beneath volcanic ash deposits and lava flows, and the longevity of Aboriginal oral histories, presents an opportunity for novel investigation into the timing of human occupation of this region. In particular, oral traditions surrounding the Budj Bim Volcanic Complex previously Mount Eccles in western Victoria have been interpreted to reference volcanic activity.
These ages fall within the range of 14C and OSL ages reported for the six earliest known occupation sites in southeastern Australia. The age of Tower Hill directly represents the minimum age for human presence in Victoria. If oral traditions surrounding Budj Bim do indeed reference volcanic activity, this could mean that these are some of the longest-lived oral traditions in the world. Erin L. Representatives of the media may obtain complimentary articles by contacting Kea Giles at the e-mail address above.
In physics , optically stimulated luminescence OSL is a method for measuring doses from ionizing radiation. It is used in at least two applications:. The method makes use of electrons trapped between the valence and conduction bands in the crystalline structure of certain minerals most commonly quartz and feldspar. The ionizing radiation produces electron-hole pairs: Electrons are in the conduction band and holes in the valence band. The electrons that have been excited to the conduction band may become entrapped in the electron or hole traps.
Under the stimulation of light, the electrons may free themselves from the trap and get into the conduction band.
In physics, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is a method for measuring doses from ionizing radiation. It is used in at least two applications: Luminescence dating of ancient materials: mainly geological sediments and for example, the mineral’s last exposure to sunlight; Mungo Man, Australia’s oldest human find.
Crystalline rock types and soils collect energy from the radioactive decay of cosmic uranium, thorium, and potassium Electrons from these substances get trapped in the mineral’s crystalline structure, and continuing exposure of the rocks to these elements over time leads to predictable increases in the number of electrons caught in the matrices.
But when the rock is exposed to high enough levels of heat or light, that exposure causes vibrations in the mineral lattices and the trapped electrons are freed. Luminescence dating is a collective term for dating methods that encompass thermoluminescence TL and optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating techniques. OSL is also less commonly referred to as optical dating, photon stimulated luminescence dating or photoluminescence dating..
Luminescence dating methods are based on the ability of some mineral grains to absorb and store energy from environmental ionizing radiation emanating from the immediate surroundings of the mineral grains as well as from cosmic radiation. When stimulated these minerals, generally referred to as dosimeters, will release the stored energy in the form of visible light; hence the term luminescence. Measuring the energy and determining the rate at which the energy accumulated allows an age representing the time that has elapsed since the energy began accumulating to be determined.
Stimulation of energy release using heat is termed TL while stimulation using light is referred to as OSL. The age range of luminescence methods generally spans from a few decades to about , years, though ages exceeding several hundred thousand years have been reported in some studies. Like 14 C dating, thermoluminescence is related to radioactive decay.