In some categories of objects, from China, for example, the actual age is quite precisely known for short-lived styles, and it is possible to work "backwards" to get information about the environment in many parts of the world, and some other parameters not usually measurable for art objects.Using this information often reduces the uncertainty to 15-25 per cent. Nearly any mineral material which has been heated above 500C at a time one wishes to know is a candidate for TL dating. Porcelains, being nearly vitrified, are a special case requiring a fairly large solid core sample, and TL dating of intact objects is not recommended because of the damage caused by sampling.For her Ph D research, Kathleen is interested in refining a technique for TL dating of volcanic glass and enhancing the resolution and quality of the tephrochronology in the Great Basin using luminescence dating techniques. The age of the pottery, in principle, may then be determined by the relation Age = Accumulated dose / Dose per year Although conceptually straightforward, TL has proven to to be far from simple in practice.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.
Drilling, the usual method of sampling, introduces some uncertainty.Kathleen is Ph D student at the University of Nevada, Reno in the department of Geological Sciences and Engineering.Her research interests are in radiation exposure dating techniques including optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), thermally stimulated luminescence (TL) and electron spin resonance (ESR). 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).