Using R for Thermoluminescence dating - The Age of the Taibeh Haeted Silex


R, or GNU S, is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It provides a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques and is highly extensible [1]. Since 2012, a package specifically designed for luminescence dating is available [2]. Unfortunately, until now, this package included mainly tools for OSL rather than TL dating.
On this poster, we will present a series of functions implemented in R that can be used to process TL data before age estimation (for example, by subtracting the background or aligning the peaks) or to estimate the paleodose following the SAR or the MAAD protocol.
For the paleodose estimation, we decided to use a kind of De plateau approach. Rather than directly integrating the signal based on the heating plateau test results, we process the signal for each temperature interval separately and integrate the result only at the end of the process. This approach is facilitated by the affinity of R for large dataset manipulation. It provides test-dose corrections which do not depend on any initial hypothesis and facilitates the visualization of weird behavior. However, it complicates the uncertainty estimation.
In the context of the CRC 806 “Our way to Europe”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), these tools were used to date heated silex coming from the Paleolithic site of Taibeh, Wadi Sabra (Jordan). This material was associated to the Masraqan technocomplex, which is currently dated between 16 and 20 ka BC (MIS2) [3]. Within the Masraqan, Taibeh has a unique stratigraphy, displaying at least two, but probably five, successive layers with this technotypological signature. Providing reliable dates will therefore strongly improve our understanding of this technocultural unit.
To insure the validity of our approach, the results obtained for different protocols (TL-MAAD, TL-SAR, and OSL-SAR) will be compared with each other as well as with radiocarbon dates.

[1] R Development Core team (2004). R Language Definition, Version 2.0.1. R–Project.
[2] Kreutzer et al. (2012). Introducing an R package for luminescence dating analysis. Ancient TL, Vol.30 No.1, 1-8.
[3] Belfer-Cohen, et al. (2007). From the Beginning: Levantine Upper Paleolithic Cultural Change and Chronology. Rethinking the Human Revolution. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Monorgaphs Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 199-206.


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Strebler, D., Brill, D., Schmidt, C., Brückner, H. (2014): Using R for Thermoluminescence dating - The Age of the Taibeh Haeted Silex. Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance conference (LED) 2014, Montreal, Canada

Authors Strebler, David and Brill, Dominik and Schmidt, Christoph and Brückner, Helmut
Type poster
Title Using R for Thermoluminescence dating - The Age of the Taibeh Haeted Silex
Year 2014
Address Montreal, Canada
Organization Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance conference (LED) 2014
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