Electro spin resonance dating

The fossils comprise three bones from the left arm from the same individual (humerus, ulna and radius).

The basic concepts of EPR are analogous to those of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), but it is electron spins that are excited instead of the spins of atomic nuclei.

EPR spectroscopy is particularly useful for studying metal complexes or organic radicals.

The amount of trapped electrons corresponds to the magnitude of the ESR signal.

On the prehistoric site of Tourville-la-Rivière (Seine-Maritime, Normandy), a team of archaeologists from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) has discovered the remains of a pre-Neanderthal.

Apart from two fragmented skulls found at Biache-Saint-Vaast in the North of France, the rare human fossils from this period have been unearthed on 10 sites in Germany and Great-Britain.

The Tourville-la-Rivière individual therefore constitutes a major discovery in Europe in terms of understanding Mid-Pleistocene human settlement.All the equipments needed for an optimal sample preparation are available: circular saws, dentist drill, agate mortar, sieves…Chemical preparations using various products (HCl, HF, H2O2, SPT…) are also performed in routine. Read more The ESR dating laboratory consists of 4 distinct areas: (1) Sample preparation area, (2) Gamma irradiation facilities, (3) Low Background gamma spectrometry facilities and (4) ESR spectrometry area.These fossils and the human occupation at Tourville-la Rivière are dated from 236 000 to 183 000 BCE.Five samples of human bone and eight samples of animal teeth were analysed for Ur 238 radioactive isotopes and using Electro spin resonance (ESR).The ESR dating laboratory consists of 4 distinct areas: (1) Sample preparation area, (2) Gamma irradiation facilities, (3) Low Background gamma spectrometry facilities and (4) ESR spectrometry area.

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