The light-emitting technique reveals the age at which archaeological material was heated

In order to determine the absolute age of the Beicun site and explore the chronological relationship between liangzhu ancient city and its peripheral sites, the Science and Technology Archaeology Laboratory of the University of Science and Technology of China cooperated with the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Zhejiang Province to carry out a systematic chronological analysis of the remains of pottery, red-burnt soil and carbonized plants in the Beicun site. The results show that the use of the latest high-precision delumination dating technology can effectively determine the last heating age of heated archaeological materials such as pottery and red-burned soil. The results were recently published in Quaternary Geology.

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Beicun site location and dating sample collection Courtesy of The University of Science and Technology of China

The Beicun site is an early settlement site of the Liangzhu culture excavated by the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology from 2020 to 2021, and important jade and stone tools such as the Dragon Head Bracelet, Yu Huang, Jade Cicada and Shi Qi have been discovered, providing the latest information for studying the development of Liangzhu society, class differentiation and exploring the background of the rise of Liangzhu Ancient City.

Since the use of thermal light-releasing methods in pottery in Oxford University in the 1950s, archaeologists at home and abroad have successively applied the light-releasing dating technology to pottery, porcelain, stone tools (heated flint), burnt earth, furnaces, bricks, slags and other heated archaeological materials in the dating of pottery, porcelain, stone tools ( heated flint ), burning soil, furnaces, bricks, slag and other heated archaeological materials.

Associate Professor Fan Anchuan, corresponding author of the paper, told China Science Daily, “Compared with the unheated sediments, the above archaeological materials have undergone complex changes in the ancient artificial high-temperature heating process, and the resulting changes in the properties of the light release need to be systematically studied to ensure the accuracy and accuracy of the emission dating results of archaeological materials.” ”

“In our dating study at the Beicun site, the research group analyzed the light-emitting properties of the heat-absorbed quartz minerals in pottery and red-burned soil at different temperatures through the simulation experiment of gradient heating, and found that the photoreflection signal attenuation rate of the quartz in the heat-exposed archaeological materials was directly related to its high temperature heating history, which would affect the accuracy and accuracy of the light-released dating at the same time.” Wang Chunxin, a doctoral candidate who was the first author of the paper, said.

Based on the above findings, Fan Anchuan’s research team optimized the elapsed dating procedure, measuring the release age of pottery pieces, red-burned soil, and the carbon 14th century of the trace amount of burning carbon chips isolated from the burned soil.

Wang Chunxin explains, “Our measurement data at multiple archaeological sites show that under the condition of standardized sampling and targeted testing, the application of photoreflective dating technology has the advantage of high accuracy in the chronological research of buried pottery and soil-burning archaeological heating materials, and it is expected to determine the high-precision age of the last archaeological heating event (such as sacrifice, incineration, cooking, etc.), which has a wide application prospect in the study of human activities in the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras.” ”

It is reported that the main experiment of this research was completed in the Key Laboratory of Science and Technology Archaeology of the University of Science and Technology of China. The Light Release Laboratory is equipped with 3 photoreflection and thermal emission measurement systems, which can meet the requirements of a variety of archaeological thermal materials and formation sediments for photometric dating.

The reviewers believe that it is necessary for researchers to systematically study the light-emitting properties of archaeological materials, and the thermal instability signal, medium-speed components and slow-speed components analyzed by the light-emission signals of artificially heated samples have different degrees of influence on the accuracy of the dating results. The paper provides new evaluation indicators and directions for the high-precision dating of heat-related archaeological materials such as pottery. (Source: China Science Daily Wang Min)

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