Luminescence dating limitations
One is the “equivalent dose” determined from luminescence measurements on mineral crystals (usually quartz or feldspar) extracted from the material to be dated.
The other is the “dose rate” to which the crystals have been exposed throughout antiquity.
To put it simply, certain minerals (quartz, feldspar, and calcite), store energy from the sun at a known rate.
This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral's crystals.
Advantages and Limitations of Thermoluminescence Dating of Heated Flint from Paleolithic Sites Daniel Richter* Department of Human Evolution, MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany Thermoluminescence (TL) dating is now widely used in the age determination of Paleolithic sites.
Materials of geological origin will have absorbed considerable quantities of radiation since their formation, so any human-caused exposure to heat or light will reset the luminescence clock considerably more recently than that since only the energy stored since the event will be recorded.
The age is then the ratio (equivalent dose)/(dose rate).
Factors which influence the accuracy of the two components, and so the accuracy of the age, are discussed.
The method is a direct dating technique, meaning that the amount of energy emitted is a direct result of the event being measured.
Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating, the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time.