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Research articles

ScienceAsia 48 (2022): 788-796 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2022.114

Luminescence dating of archaeometallurgical slag from Buriram Province, northeastern Thailand

Sutthikan Khamsiria, Pira Venunanb, Chawalit Khaokheiwb, Praon Silapanthb, Sirittha Banrona, Santi Pailopleea,*

ABSTRACT:     : In this study, the possibility of directly dating archaeometallurgical slags is assessed. The enormous slag heaps distributed in the Ban Kruat district, Buriram Province, Thailand, have been interpreted as one of the most prominent archaeometallurgical sites in Mainland Southeast Asia. Therefore, five slag samples were collected from the topmost level of two heaps. The X-ray diffraction measurement of each slag revealed the existence of quartz minerals, which is conceptually useful to luminescence dating. Based on optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) measurements, two of the five samples showed a weak luminescence signal, which was not suitable for OSL dating, and may reflect the lack of quartz minerals. However, the other three quartz-rich slag samples clearly expressed an OSL signal. Therefore, 40 or 96 aliquots of a single aliquot regenerative measurement were employed to date them. With the combination of the activated dose rate obtained from environmental radioactive elements (U, Th, and K), two timespans of iron-smelting activity were defined, as approximately 140 y ago and 470?710 y ago. Compared with the radiocarbon dates of the adjacent slag heap in Buriram (560?280 y BP), the 140-y-old slag heap dated in this study is younger and represents the latest (most recently) datable iron-smelting industry in the Angkor highland (Thailand). Meanwhile, the radiocarbon dates (140?20 y BP) of the slag heap in the Angkor lowland (Cambodia) conformed to the date obtained in this study. Therefore, it is concluded that OSL dating is effective for direct dating of the slag-bearing quartz.

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a Morphology of Earth Surface and Advanced Geohazards in Southeast Asia Research Unit (MESA RU), Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330 Thailand
b Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Bangkok 10200 Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail: Pailoplee.S@gmail.com

Received 28 Oct 2021, Accepted 1 Jun 2022