ESR study of thermal history and dating of a stone tool
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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