Rehydroxylation dating sample

The process of Rehydroxylation (RHX) is defined as the chemisorption of atmospheric water by fired clay ceramic material which proceeds by ultraslow, nanoscale solid-state transport (single file diffusion) into the body of the clay.

Ceramic material is very porous so water as vapour readily permeates it.

The rate of RHX is described by a (time) power law, this means that it is a super-slow reaction.

Combined FTIR and TG analysis indicated that overshooting age calculations derived from the release of physical water.

By retesting the samples using a dehydroxylation firing at 300°C, all those less stable components were dried leaving only hydroxyl water contributing to the RHX mass.

This research is led by Moira Wilson, who discovered that rehydroxylation proceeds at a predictable rate and co-invented the RHX dating technique.

The idea that the gain in mass caused by absorption of moisture can be used to date archaeological and historic fired-clay by means of the rehydroxylation (RHX) technique is perhaps one of the most exciting developments in archaeological science since the introduction of radiocarbon dating in the 1950’s for organic material.

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SAA 2015 abstracts made available in t DAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology.

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