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There are two types of luminescence dating: thermoluminescence (TL) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL).
"These findings mean that all the 'hype' about modern humans being in Australia before they had apparently even left Africa has been put to rest, and we no longer need to debate the issue of human origins on the Jinmium evidence," says team leader Dr Richard Roberts of La Trobe University. But that still leaves us with the fascinating question of when humans entered Australia - and whether it has any connection with changes in the pollen and charcoal records we see taking place about 120,000 years ago.
Contamination from earlier or later layers can sometimes misrepresent the correct age of the sediment, hence the age-estimates for the associated artefacts may be inaccurate.
Some sites that were originally dated using luminescence have since been re-examined and found to be older or younger than initially thought.
Tests by Australian scientists using world-leading dating technology have revealed the controversial Jinmium aboriginal rock shelter in the Northern Territory is less than ten thousand years old, the international science journal Nature announced today.
Jinmium became world headline news in 1996 when researchers investigating the site estimated it may have been inhabited by humans as long as 120,000 years ago or even earlier.