Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events.
The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.
This method is based on the assumption (which nearly always holds true) that deeper layers of rock were deposited earlier in Earth's history, and thus are older than more shallow layers.
In all, close to two dozen physical quantities must be accurately measured to establish the relationship between doses of different kinds of radiation and light output, and to compute dose rate.
Relative dating methods are used to determine only if one sample is older or younger than another.
Absolute dating methods are used to determine an actual date in years for the age of an object.
By comparing this light output with that produced by known doses of radiation, the amount of radiation absorbed by the material may be found.
Most mineral materials, including the constituents of pottery, have the property of thermoluminescence (TL), where part of the energy from radioactive decay in and around the mineral is stored (in the form of trapped electrons) and later released as light upon strong heating (as the electrons are detrapped and combine with lattice ions).