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ESR study of thermal history and dating of a stone tool

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Electron spin resonance (ESR) of Fe3+ ions and of radiation-induced centers in quartz (E’, peroxy and Al centers) was studied to distinguish between burnt and unburnt stone tools and to determine their age. The yellow stone tool with a reddish edge discovered at the paleolithic site in Kamitakamori, northern Japan, was investigated. The ESR spectrum intensity of Fe3+ ions around g=4.3 and the color of the material changed at 600°C and 240°C, respectively, which indicates that the red part was heated at 240–600°C. The E′ center in the red part was used for dating because isochronal annealing experiments showed low thermal stability of the Al center and overlap of broad signals at g=2.0086 onto the peroxy center. Assuming the same efficiency of defect formation in the red part as of that in the laboratory-heated material at 450°C, the obtained age of 520–770 ka is in concordance with the ages of the tephra layers at the site.

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Correspondence to A. Tani.

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Tani, A., Bartoll, J., Ikeya, M. et al. ESR study of thermal history and dating of a stone tool. Appl. Magn. Reson. 13, 561–569 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03162227

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  • Electron Spin Resonance
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectrum
  • Electron Spin Resonance Signal
  • Stone Tool
  • Electron Spin Resonance Measurement