Siliceous materials used for tool making can differ greatly in appearance. When dating burnt lithics using Thermoluminescence (TL), the distribution of radionuclides (Uranium, Thorium, Potassium) in the tools influences the accuracy and precision of the age.
Therefore, the F2 project is conducting investigations to study whether radionuclides occur either in uniform distribution or in clusters. Autoradiography methods provide ‘photos’ of the intensity of internal radiation of many different raw materials provided by archaeologists. In addition to statistical analysis, we can thus assess if the assumption of homogeneous U, Th and K distribution is justified or not, and whether new methods are needed to take this into account, in order to increase the potential of TL dating of heated silex.
Optical variety of silica (samples from Germany, Poland and Romania).
Photo: Christoph Schmidt