Electron Spin Resonance Dating of Animal and Human Bones

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Science  29 Feb 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4434, pp. 977-979
DOI: 10.1126/science.207.4434.977


Ages of fossil bones were determined by electron spin resonance spectroscopy. The electron spin resonance signal is associated with lattice defects or trapped centers produced by natural radiation in the bones and gives a measure of the total dose of natural radiation, or the archeological dose. Archeological doses were determined for samples of known age from a variety of sites and used to estimate apparent average annual rates of natural radiation at the sites. The method has the advantage that the sample need not be ground or heated, and it should be useful for dating biological materials.