Radiocarbon dating after 1950

Unfortunately, it is not possible to achieve this precision for the majority of art objects.

Most mineral materials, including the constituents of pottery, have the property of thermoluminescence (TL), where part of the energy from radioactive decay in and around the mineral is stored (in the form of trapped electrons) and later released as light upon strong heating (as the electrons are detrapped and combine with lattice ions).

Douglass, Richard Ciolek-Torrello, Sarah Van Galder, Benjamin R. The Coleville and Bodie Hills NRCS Soil Inventory, Walker and Bridgeport, California: A Reevaluation of the Bodie Hills Obsidian Source (CA-MNO-4527) and Its Spatial and Chronological Use. Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Archaeological Heated-Rock Cooking Structures in the Transverse Mountain Ranges: Proposed Markers of Land-Use Shifts since the Early Holocene [SCA Proceedings - PDF].

Grenda, Jeffrey Homburg, Manuel Palacios-Fest, Steven Shelley, Angela Keller and Davis Maxwell Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Archaeological Heated-Rock Cooking Structures in the Transverse Mountain Ranges: Proposed Markers of Land-Use Shifts since the Early Holocene [SCA Proceedings - PDF].

Some clays are hardly thermoluminescent at all; some may not have a straight-line relationship between dose and TL; spurious luminescence due to chemical or pressure effects may mask the radiation-induced TL; occasionally, a condition called "anomalous fading", where part of the TL is unstable, may lessen the accuracy of the dose measurement.

Generally speaking, when a sample is drilled and there is no information available about the burial environment, one may expect up to 40 per cent uncertainty.

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