b) Absolute These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.
This method includes carbon dating and thermoluminescence.
Because this accumulation of trapped electrons begins with the formation of the crystal structure, thermoluminescence can date crystalline materials to their date of formation; for ceramics, this is the moment they are fired.
The major source of error in establishing dates from thermoluminescence is a consequence of inaccurate measurements of the radiation acting on a specimen.
When a specimen is reheated, the trapped energy is released in the form of light (thermoluminescence) as the electrons escape.
When scientists pull pottery from the ground, they use heat or lasers to de-excite these electrons out of their trap states back to their original state. Scientists measure the amount of light to get the total measured radiation dose (TMRD).
They divide this by an assumed radiation dose rate (RDR) to estimate the pottery’s age.
The half-life of C is approximately 5730 years, which is too short for this method to be used to date material millions of years old.
The isotope of Potassium-40, which has a half-life of 1.25 Billion years, can be used for such long measurements.