Barford Road, St Neots, Cambridgeshire : Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating of single grains of quartz from sedimentary fills of two cursus monuments

Author(s): E J Rhodes

Fifteen sediment samples forming two vertical sequences, one located in the fill of each of two cursus monuments at the site of Barford Road, St Neots, Cambridgeshire were dated using new luminescence methods based on the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) from single grains of quartz. From the main suite of results it is concluded that grains showing signs of incomplete zeroing are relatively rare, though more common in basal fill samples. Most samples have a significant grouping of single-grain ages which is likely to represent the depositional age of the sediment. Grains providing significantly younger apparent ages are present in many samples, especially closer to the surface, and probably represent the effects of post-depositional root activity or other bioturbation processes. A novel approach based on the radiocarbon calibration programme OxCal was developed and applied to provide age estimates for the single grain measurements. The age estimates derived in this manner had relatively high uncertainties, but suggest that the lowermost fill of both cursus monuments began to be deposited in the early to mid 5th millenium BC, and the uppermost samples for both structures were laid down around the 3rd millenium BC.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Optically Stimulated Luminescence


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