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Dating methods

Vak 2014-2015

Compulsory attendance

Yes.

Admission requirements

Admission to an MSc programme in Archaeology.

Description

This course will focus on the following dating methods:
Radiometric dating: radiocarbon including advanced applications (statistical analysis, reservoir effects), proper assessment of the data obtained.
Luminescence dating: TL, OSL.
Geology: K/Ar, U-series isotopes, ESR relevant for archaeology.
Chemical methods: racemisation, stratigraphies (magnetic, tephra, ice, marine stages).
Dating Pleistocene sites.

Course set-up:
1) C14: natural radioactivity, dating principle, C14 timescale, isotope effects, calibration.
2) C14: statistics, wiggle matching, Bayesian analysis, applications in archaeology.
3) C14: reservoir-effects & stable isotopes, C14 for the archaeologist (“what’s in a date?”).
4) TL, OSL (guest lecture by J. Wallinga).
5) isotope geology relevant for archaeology: dating by U-series, K/Ar, ESR.
6) chemical methods and biostratigraphy: racemisation, palynology, isotope stages (lecture by T. van Kolfschoten).
7) dating Pleistocene sites (Boxgrove, Happisburgh, Schöningen, Dmanisi, etc.)

Course objectives

  • Advanced knowledge of dating based on scientific methods;
  • Ability to assess chronological inference in archaeological research questions.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lectures;
  • 420 pages of literature.

Timetable

Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;
  • Discussion session.

Assessment method

Essays; one about a specific dating method, the other about a relevant case study.

Assessment deadline

The essays need to be completed within 1 month after the last class.
Exam dates and assessment deadlines can be found in the examination schedule

Reading list

  • M. Walker, Quaternary Dating Methods.
  • Handouts.

Registration

Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact prof.dr.ir. J. van der Plicht.