Rehydroxylation (RHX) Dating of Archaeological Ceramics

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Venue:AHC3 214

Dr. Murray Moinester, School of Physics and Astronomy Sackler, Aviv Univesity, Israel will be speaking.

Abstract: Determining the absolute chronology of ceramic artifacts has significant implications for archaeological and historical research. I describe a radically new technique for precisely dating fired ceramics, based on a moisture-induced chemical rehydroxylation (RHX) reaction. RHX dating proceeds by measuring the mass of chemically combined water in the ceramics in the form of OH hydroxyls, and the mass gain rate at the Effective Lifetime Temperature (ELT) that the ceramics experienced over its lifetime. I describe how two different ceramics samples can reveal their common ELT with high precision. RHX reaction kinetics are proportional to the fourth root of the ceramic's age, so the amount of hydroxyl chemically combined with the ceramic material provides an 'internal clock' that can be read by a precision microbalance to determine the elapsed time since it was fired. RHX dating has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the trajectories of historical developments worldwide.