Research NewsArchaeology

Doubts Over Spectacular Dates

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Science  10 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5336, pp. 220-222
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5336.220

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New dating techniques based on measuring a tiny luminescence signal from sediments long hidden from light have yielded some of the most startling--and fiercely disputed--dates in archaeology. Among other things, luminescence dates place humans in Australia more than 100,000 years ago, two to three times earlier than previously thought, and in Siberia 250,000 years ago. Many researchers worry that these techniques are being applied too hastily, without enough checking against other methods.