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22-Nov-2019 07:10

The exposure to radioactive elements continues, and the minerals begin again storing free electrons in their structures.

If you can measure the rate of acquisition of the stored energy, you can figure out how long it has been since the exposure happened.

These could then be dated using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.The two-phase research project entailed collecting tiny (less than a millimetre squared) quantities of pigment from the rock painting and then analysing these samples to determine which art should be sampled for AMS radiocarbon dating.The samples that contained the most carbon-black (and thus most likely to reveal dates) were then radiocarbon dated.This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral's crystals.

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Heating these crystals (such as when a pottery vessel is fired or when rocks are heated) empties the stored energy, after which time the mineral begins absorbing energy again.Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating, the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time.