Dunes: Portable OSL Technology and its Practical Applications in Canadian Archaeology


  • Rebecca Trites MacEwan University


This research will provide an overview of OSL and pOSL technology; this includes a description of its components and an overview of how it works to measure luminescence signals from both quartz and feldspar samples. OSL is an acronym for optically stimulated luminescence and these machines are able to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by mineral samples since their most recent exposure to heat or light. Electrons are trapped in the crystal structure of minerals when they become exited by isotropic radiation; with stimulation from the OSL machine these electrons can be released and measured. Portable OSL technology is able to analyze bulk samples of sediments, in real-time, at archaeology surveys and excavations. The purpose of this research is to look at the practical applications of pOSL in archaeological sites in Alberta, Canada. This will include a comparison of the data retrieved from sites characterized by sand dune sediments and data retrieved from non-sand dune sites. A discussion follows about the viability of using pOSL for archaeological purposes in both sand dune and non-sand dune environments in Alberta, Canada.

Department: Physical Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robin Woywitka





Physical Sciences