The application of sedimentological analysis and luminescence dating to waterlain deposits from archaeological sites
The thesis follows an interdisciplinary approach combining sediment analysis and luminescence dating of sediments from selected archaeological sites. The work aims to assess the role of sediment analysis for luminescence dating, and the potential of TL and IRSL for dating waterlain material of Holocene age. A comparative chronology based on radiocarbon, stratigraphic and archaeological grounds is important. However, the viability of comparing different dating techniques is considered in the light of the dating results. The novel IRSL and established TL techniques were shown to successful for dating waterlain sediments, provided that a suitable light source is used for laboratory bleaching. Age comparisons between the luminescence techniques was excellent. Disparities between luminescence and C-14 ages is largely explained on a sedimentological basis. The role of sediment analysis is shown to be of great importance for luminescence dating. Certain sedimentological and luminescence characteristics are shown to be closely linked. The relationship between undated sediments affected by instability or low intensity of signals, and weathering in the strata from which the samples were taken is tested by experiment. This demonstrates that weathering of feldspars in the stratum severely affects the luminescence signals and therefore the potential for dating these samples. This represents a step towards the recognition of problematic samples in the field. In conclusion, it is shown that luminescence is suitable as an absolute dating technique for a wide variety of inorganic sedimentary material between 0-200 000 years old. This exceeds the C-14 technique both in range of material and in age limits. The main source of error is associated with variations in water content, which with the recognition of the significance of weathering, demonstrates the importance of sediment analysis in support of luminescence dating studies.