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Cosmogenic dating archaeology

For that reason, it is essential that anyone seeking to employ TCN analysis link up with a practising TCN analyst (or, at least, an experienced user).The wealth of capability and experience in Scotland where by far and away the bulk of UK expertise in TCN analysis resides should make that relatively easy for anyone interested in TCN analysis.There is obvious potential here for dating the emergence of Scottish coastal landscapes from below sea-level for subsequent occupation.Unpublished TCN surface exposure dating of raised beaches on Jura, for example, confirms their Late Pleistocene emergence and the extreme rates of glacio-isostatic surface uplift immediately after deglaciation (Fabel in prep), and many glacial landforms are amenable to the same type of analysis in an archaeological context.

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As far as is currently known, TCNs have not yet been exploited directly in Scottish archaeological contexts, but there is great potential for their application, given the research capacity and analytical capability that are available in Scotland (see below).

Surface exposure dating is widely used to provide ages of deglaciation for Scotland (e.g.

Stroeven (1996) for the raised rock platforms of Lismore).

TCN analysis is still overall in a developmental phase, although it is reasonable to state that its application is becoming more routine.

The assumptions and necessary ‘pre-requisites’ for the technique are probably less likely to be routinely well understood by archaeologists.


  1. Can we use cosmogenic. Surface exposure dating. Asia C 14 Cenozoic Europe Holocene Quaternary United States Western Europe absolute age archaeology carbon.

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