The particular advantage of luminescence dating is that the method provides a date for the archaeological artefact or deposit itself, rather than for organic material in assumed association.In the case of OSL sediment dating, suitable material (sand or silt-sized grains of quartz and feldspar) is usually available ubiquitously throughout the site.Luminescence dating is particularly appropriate when radiocarbon dating is not possible (either where no suitable material is available or for ages beyond the radiocarbon age limit) or for applications affected by radiocarbon plateau effects (e.g.
Postgraduate students registered for a degree course within a UK university which does not house a luminescence laboratory may be eligible to apply for an award through a joint scheme set up with the Quaternary Research Association (
Likewise, projects central to the Laboratory's research interests may be carried out at a reduced charge.
There are two components involved in evaluating age by luminescence.
One is the “equivalent dose” determined from luminescence measurements on mineral crystals (usually quartz or feldspar) extracted from the material to be dated.
The error limits on the dates obtained are typically in the range of 5 to 10%.