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This information will really help the archaeologists to understand how and when the site was formed.These dates can help identify when a mound was first built, when it was expanded or rebuilt, and when it was abandoned.Currently, quartz is the only material that can easily be dated through this technique although some other types of materials may be used in the future such as feldspar.
It can identify soils exposed to sunlight as recently as 5-10 years ago to between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. Rink’s lab is also currently developing new techniques that will allow them to date sediments ranging from 2 to 5 million years ago.
It will be a major breakthrough; however, dating such ancient soils will require an extremely long exposure to sunlight in order for this technique to be useful. Well, you could collect your samples at night, but then it becomes difficult to see your work and write your notes!
These organisms are constantly burrowing through the soils and continually moving grains of sand up and down.
This movement of soils is one of the reasons why Dr. Many of the mounds and midden that are located at the site are composed of alternating layers of shell and soil.
Roots, ants, worms, gopher tortoises, tree falls all continuously move soil up and down through the soil column.
Other process such as wind, rain, frost heave, erosion and deposition can all work to expose soil to sunlight and then cover it back up.
Quartz and quartzite accumulate energy in them through time.
This energy comes from the breakdown of very small quantities of radioactive materials that are locally present in the earth’s crust.
Hopefully, when the results of the investigation are completed this information, combined with the information collected by the USF/OSU field school will provide a detailed history of the Crystal River site and its prehistoric inhabitants.