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Drilling, the usual method of sampling, introduces some uncertainty.

Finally, one has to make the measurements regardless of whether the TL of the clay is well-behaved or not. It is an absolute dating method, and does not depend on comparison with similar objects (as does obsidian hydration dating, for example). The thermoluminescence technique is the only physical means of determining the absolute age of pottery presently available.This is adequate for the purposes of authentication where the question is whether the piece was fired in antiquity or recently; it will not differentiate, say, between a classic Greek terra cotta and a Roman copy.In some categories of objects, from China, for example, the actual age is quite precisely known for short-lived styles, and it is possible to work "backwards" to get information about the environment in many parts of the world, and some other parameters not usually measurable for art objects.

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Much stoneware is not so hard as porcelain and may be sampled by drilling.

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