Luminescence dating of baked earth and sediments from the Qujialing archaeological site, China
The Qujialing site is a representative Neolithic archaeological site in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China. Absence of suitable material for radiocarbon dating in this region makes the timing of the similar sites difficult. Here we applied optically stimulated luminescence (OSL-SAR) and thermoluminescence (TL-SAR) techniques to date the archaeological and natural deposits from the Qujialing site with known age, testing the techniques on samples at archaeological sites in this region. The results showed that the luminescence properties of quartz from sediment and baked earth samples are very similar. The quartz OSL ages obtained for a sediment sample and a baked earth sample from the cultural layer are 5.4 ± 0.3 and 5.1 ± 0.3 ka, respectively. The quartz TL age of the baked earth sample is 5.6 ± 0.5 ka. These dates are consistent with the calibrated radiocarbon ages (4.9 ± 0.1 and 5.1 ± 0.1 ka cal BP (±1σ)) of the two charcoal samples from the cultural layer at a nearby locality, and are also in agreement with the age of Qujialing culture period. The results indicate that the OSL dating techniques can be applied to date similar archaeological sites in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China.