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Luminescence dating (including thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence) is a type of dating methodology that measures the amount of light emitted from energy stored in certain rock types and derived soils to obtain an absolute date for a specific event that occurred in the past.

When sediments cover an archaeological site they are exposed to light and the mineral grains are bleached.TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what "ought" to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated.In the same way, more or less, OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating measures the last time an object was exposed to sunlight.Two forms of luminescence dating are used by archaeologists to date events in the past: thermoluminescence (TL) or thermally stimulated luminescence (TSL), which measures energy emitted after an object has been exposed to temperatures between 400 and 500°C; and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), which measures energy emitted after an object has been exposed to daylight.To put it simply, certain minerals (quartz, feldspar, and calcite), store energy from the sun at a known rate.

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