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Identification of ancient heat treatment in flint artefacts by ESR spectroscopy


IT is of archaeological importance to be able to determine whether or not a particular sample of flint has been subjected to heating, either intentionally or accidentally, during its utilisation by man. We report here on the use of ESR spectroscopy for the study of flint, and show that heated material can be readily identified by the appearance of a characteristic ESR signal which is absent from the unheated flint. This signal is considered to be stable over an indefinite period of time. We have also explored other implications of this technique in the examination of flint, including its possible use for dating purposes.

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ROBINS, G., SEELEY, N., MCNEIL, D. et al. Identification of ancient heat treatment in flint artefacts by ESR spectroscopy. Nature 276, 703–704 (1978).

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