We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Publication details

Bailiff IK (2007). Methodological developments in the luminescence dating of brick from English late medieval and post medieval buildings. Archaeometry 49(4): 827-851.

Author(s) from Durham


Fired clay brick samples, obtained from a group of seven high-status late-medieval and post-medieval buildings in England ranging in age from c. ad 1390 to 1740, were dated by the luminescence method using an optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) technique. The results obtained indicate that, when applied to quartz extracted from brick, the technique is capable of producing dates that are in consistently good agreement with independent dating evidence for the buildings. For six samples taken from a group of four dating ‘control’ buildings the mean difference between the central values of luminescence and assigned ages was 5 ± 10 years (SD, n = 6). The methodology used is appropriate for application to other standing buildings in other temporal and geographic regions, and may be used with confidence where conventional dating methods are less certain. The study also examines the luminescence characteristics of quartz and the characteristics of the lithogenic radionuclides in brick samples and identifies various aspects related to the assessment of experimental uncertainty in testing the reliability of the method.

Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China