Scientific Dating

Historic England, and its predecessor English Heritage, have produced technical advice on scientific dating techniques. This page provides an overview of these documents. 

Scientific dating methods are important tools in helping to understand and date archaeological sites and they are now used routinely during archaeological investigations. The best known and most often used techniques are radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating.

You can contact our Science Advisors or contact our scientific dating experts for direct advice.

Dendrochronology Guidelines

The Dendrochronology Guidelines are currently being revised with a view to publication in late Summer 2018. The original document remains valid as a general introduction and can be requested from [email protected]

For current good practice advice in relation to the use of dendrochronology to aid the understanding of archaeological sites, historic buildings and associated fixtures, objects, and landscapes please contact Cathy Tyers or Shahina Farid in the Historic England Scientific Dating team (contact details below).

New Title: Dendrochronology – Guidance for Good Practice

Publication Date: expected late summer 2018

An aid for users of dendrochronology to increase understanding of the potential of and requirements for dendrochronology and what to expect from the dendrochronologist.

Luminescence Dating

The Luminescence Dating Guidelines will be revised during 2019 with a view to publication in 2020. The original document remains valid as a general introduction and can be requested from [email protected]

For advice in relation to the use of Luminescence Dating please contact Alex Bayliss or Peter Marshall in the Historic England Scientific Dating team (contact details below).

Archaeomagnetic Dating Guidelines

There are no current plans to produce a new version of this guidance.

While no exact equivalent exists, advice and guidance on archaeomagnetic dating has been collated by the Magnetic Moments in the Past project made available on the Archaeology Data Service website.

The document is no longer available to download but copies are available on request from [email protected]

For other enquiries about this document please contact Paul Linford ([email protected])

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Contact

Alex Bayliss

Head of Scientific Dating

4th Floor, Cannon Bridge House,
25 Dowgate Hill,
London,
EC4R 2YA

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Contact

Shahina Farid

Scientific Dating Coordinator

4th Floor, Cannon Bridge House,
25 Dowgate Hill,
London,
EC4R 2YA

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Contact

Pete Marshall

Scientific Dating Coordinator

Contact

Cathy Tyers

Dendrochronologist

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