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Heating the minerals (by TL) releases the trapped signal, allowing an estimate of the accumulated charge and the time elapsed since the brick was fired to be placed as part of a structure.The energy released per unit of time (year) from ionizing radiation on the dated material and the surrounding environment must also be estimated, and it is called the dose rate .
Bricks have been usually dated by thermoluminescence (TL).: The reconstruction of the chronology of historical buildings is a tricky issue, as usually there are not historical documents that allow the assessment of construction phases, and some materials are hardly reliable for the use of dating techniques (e.g., stone).However, in the last two decades, important advances on the use of absolute dating methods on building materials have increased the possibilities of reconstructing building chronologies, although some advances are still scarcely known among archaeologists and architects.The first one provides more precise results (it is the most precise method), as it uses the growth rings of trees for dating the exact year of formation of the wood, but it requires timber of certain thicknesses and conditions.Dendrochronology is usually used to date timber, and researchers have built unbroken reference chronologies of rings to be used for dating that dates back to prehistoric times in Europe .However, it can sometimes overestimate the age of a building structure due to two possible reasons: (i) The studied sequence of rings of a timber provides the age of a trunk core with old wood; and (ii) the timber has been reused, as usually occurs in wood used for roofing, and refurbished due to deterioration .
Radiocarbon is the alternative with advantages and disadvantages: It allows the dating of very scarce material (e.g., wood chips) but the obtained age is less precise .
Sometimes radiocarbon can be used for dating ceramic materials although this still has not been tested on brick samples.
Three cases allow the use radiocarbon for dating ceramics.
Beyond the use of relative dating methods (e.g., building stratigraphy), absolute dating techniques are commonly used to obtain the chronology of construction phases through the analysis of some given building materials.
Some instrumental techniques provide more or less accurate and precise numerical age ranges, but both precision and accuracy depends on the dating method used, the instrumental precision, certain properties of the analyzed material, and even the case study.
Thirdly, soot and smoke can be adsorbed to the brick surface during firing under reducing conditions, being suitable for dating .