Short course: From photons to aeons

Optical dating in earth sciences and archaeology

Luminescence dating is an important tool for studying the Quaternary. Classical luminescence dating dates when a grain of sand was last exposed to sunlight and subsequently buried, enabling researchers to address many questions in areas of Earth and environmental sciences as well as archaeological contexts. Additionally, the versatility of the luminescence signal allows for novel questions to be addressed – from soil mixing rates to geological uplift rates to sediment provinancing to dating of geological and archaeological rock surfaces.




This course will provide an introduction to the principles and potential applications and limitations of optical dating. Beginning with an overview of the principles of the method, the many potential applications of luminescence methods will be discussed through case studies. Practical insights into OSL sampling in field contexts, sample preparation and environmental dose rate determination will be provided. After the course, the student will understand the principles, limitations, and potential applications of luminescence dating, be capable of critically assessing methods-based scientific papers and has basic knowledge about correct OSL sampling in geological and archaeological contexts.




Short course SS 2020 in English (2 hours equivalent, 4 ECTS points)


15th – 19th of June, 2020


University of Innsbruck, Department of Geology


Innsbruck Quaternary Research Group


Univ. Ass. Prof. PD. Mag. Dr. Michael Meyer




Interested students may register for the course via an e-mail to until the 1th of June, 2020.


All details available in the PDF below.


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