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The age of the pottery, in principle, may then be determined by the relation Age = Accumulated dose / Dose per year Although conceptually straightforward, TL has proven to to be far from simple in practice. Should I be concerned about artificial irradiation? If the radioactivity of the pottery itself, and its surroundings, is measured, the dose rate, or annual increment of dose, may be computed.These will give an authentic date for a bogus object.It must be realized that TL dating is but one of the criteria for judging authenticity.Drilling, the usual method of sampling, introduces some uncertainty.
When dates of a number of sherds associated together are averaged, the error is reduced typically to 7-10 per cent. The succeeding 30 years, and increased understanding of the dosimetry, have not brought much improvement.
WARNING ABOUT FAKES USING ANCIENT MATERIALS Recently there has been a spate of forgeries devised expressly to attempt circumventing TL dating.
These use pottery of the appropriate period to construct objects.
This is adequate for the purposes of authentication where the question is whether the piece was fired in antiquity or recently; it will not differentiate, say, between a classic Greek terra cotta and a Roman copy.
In some categories of objects, from China, for example, the actual age is quite precisely known for short-lived styles, and it is possible to work "backwards" to get information about the environment in many parts of the world, and some other parameters not usually measurable for art objects.
A leaflet from Daybreak describing the TL technique in more detail and giving a bibliography will be provided to interested persons.