Over the last 60 years, luminescence dating has developed into a robust chronometer for applications in earth sciences and archaeology. The technique is particularly useful for dating materials ranging in age from a few decades to around 100,000–150,000 years. In this chapter, following a brief outline of the historical development of the dating method, basic principles behind the technique are discussed. This is followed by a look at measurement equipment that is employed in determining age and its operation. Luminescence properties of minerals used in dating are then examined after which procedures used in age calculation are looked at. Sample collection methods are also reviewed, as well as types of materials that can be dated. Continuing refinements in both methodology and equipment promise to yield luminescence chronologies with improved accuracy and extended dating range in the future and these are briefly discussed.
Part of the book: Luminescence