OSL investigations at Hardisty, Alberta, Canada: Sections HD03, HD04 & HD05

Kinnaird, T.C., Munyikwa, K. and Sanderson, D.C.W. (2015) OSL investigations at Hardisty, Alberta, Canada: Sections HD03, HD04 & HD05. Technical Report. SUERC, East Kilbride, UK.

138592.pdf - Published Version



This report is concerned with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) investigations of a number of sediment stratigraphies in the Battle River Valley area, near Hardisty, east-central Alberta. Archaeological investigations in this region, led by Rob Wondrasek, have identified thousands of historical artefacts, including projectile points and lithic fragments indicative of occupation. Ken Munyikwa visited the archaeological sites at Hardisty in June 2014 and January 2015 to sample key units within the sediment stratigraphies for OSL dating. The sediments associated with the artefacts were appraised through five profiles, Hardisty-1 (HD01) to Hardisty-5 (HD05), comprised of 43 field-profiling and 14 dating samples. Profiles HD01 and HD02 were sampled in June 2014; and profiles HD03 through to HD05 in January 2015. The dating questions associated with these materials relate to the age of artefact-bearing horizon, through dating the enclosing sediments above and beneath the archaeological soil, it should be possible to provide terminus post quem (TPQ) and terminus ante quem (TAQ) on the age of the artefacts. The conventional quartz SAR OSL approach was examined as a potential method for providing the depositional ages of the sediment enclosing the artefacts. Luminescence profiling during fieldwork had revealed stratigraphically progressive IRSL and OSL signals, indicating sediment with dating potential. Dose rate estimates from these sediments were assessed using a combination of high resolution gamma spectrometry (HRGS) and thick source beta counting (TSBC), reconciled with each other, water contents and modelled micro-dosimetry. Where appropriate, the external gamma dose rates received at the position of the dating sample were reconstructed from the adjacent bulk gamma spectrometry samples, yielding wet gamma dose rates between 0.42 and 0.54 mGy a-1, which are comparable with those recorded at each sampling position. Equivalent doses were determined by OSL from 16-48 aliquots of quartz per sample (depending on quartz yields) using a single-aliquot-regenerative (SAR) approach. The material exhibited good OSL sensitivity and produced acceptable SAR internal quality control performance. Radial plotting methods revealed some heterogeneity in the equivalent dose distributions of each sample, indicating that each sample enclosed mixed-age materials, reflecting variable bleaching at deposition. The field profiles provide some measure of control on this. Luminescence ages were calculated using standard microdosimetric models, with uncertainties that combined measurement and fitting errors from the SAR analysis, all dose rate evaluation uncertainties, and allowance for the calibration uncertainties of the sources and reference materials. The quartz OSL ages reported here for the sand sequences at HD03 to HD05, contribute to the expanding catalogue of chronological data on the depositional sequences at Hardisty, and further, provide the means to assess the temporal and spatial distribution of artefacts across the site. The sediment chronologies established for each profile are internally and mutually coherent, spanning at HD03 from 7.3 ± 0.3 ka (SUTL2778) to 9.0 ± 0.5 ka (SUTL2780), at HD04 from 7.0 ± 0.3 ka (SUTL2781) to 8.3 ± 0.4 ka (SUTL2782), and at HD05 from 8.3 ± 0.5 ka (SUTL2783) to 9.6 ± 0.6 ka (SUTL2785). The field profile at HD05 reveals some complexity to its depositional history, with notable maxima and inversions in intensities from 150cm depth, potentially reflecting reworking and re-deposition of sediment within this sequence. TAQ for this phase of reworking is provided by the youngest unit examined in the profile, which at 7.5 ± 0.6 ka (SUTL2784), is consistent with the occupational phase recorded in the adjacent sections. The sediment chronologies established in this dating campaign, and in the 2014 campaign, are synchronous suggesting contemporaneous deposition across the site, and presumably, with local knowledge, scope for further age modelling including the use of Bayesian methods to refine the TAQ and TPQ age limits.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Technical Report)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kinnaird, Dr Timothy and Sanderson, Professor David
Authors: Kinnaird, T.C., Munyikwa, K., and Sanderson, D.C.W.
Subjects:F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1001 Canada (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Authors

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record