New methods or dating archaeology
But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards ...An exceptional collection of bronze weapons dating from the Iron Age II (900-600 BC) has been uncovered near Adam, in the Sultanate of Oman.We are extremely excited by the potential of this new technique, which could become an established way of determining the age of ceramic artefacts of archaeological interest."The method could also be turned on its head and used to establish the mean temperature of a material over its lifetime, if a precise date of firing were known.But, for a single culture site the method is quite reliable.Quite convincing dates are sometimes arrived at by importing parallels from other contemporaneous cultures.The technique involves measuring the mass of a sample of ceramic and then heating it to around 500 degrees Celsius in a furnace, which removes the water.The sample is then monitored in a super-accurate measuring device known as a microbalance, to determine the precise rate at which the ceramic will combine with water over time.
A team from The University of Manchester and The University of Edinburgh has discovered a new technique which they call 'rehydroxylation dating' that can be used on fired clay ceramics like bricks, tile and pottery.Researchers are now planning to look at whether the new dating technique can be applied to earthenware, bone china and porcelain.The full research team comprised Dr Moira Wilson, Dr Margaret Carter, Prof William Hoff, Ceren Ince, Shaun Savage and Bernard Mc Kay from The University of Manchester, Professor Chris Hall from the School of Engineering and Centre for Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh and Ian Betts from The Museum of London.In 2003 the Manchester and Edinburgh team discovered a new law that precisely defines how the rate of reaction between ceramic and water varies over time.
The application of this law underpins the new dating method because the amount of water that is chemically combined with a ceramic provides an 'internal clock' that can be accessed to determine its age.According to this method, the upper deposits are younger and the lower deposits are older.