Research Projects

Dating Paleoindian sites in Brazil and elsewhere

Dating of ceramics and fire-modified rock

Dating rock alignments in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains



The chronology of the earliest human migrants to the New World is still disputed and unevenly documented.  Radiocarbon dating from well stratified sites has been the traditional means of assessing this chronology, but radiocarbon in many cases can have problems with contamination or lack of association between dated and target events.  Luminescence provides a complementary methodology in not only providing an independent means of dating but also allowing evaluation of stratigraphic integrity.  Luminescence dating of single grains has the potential to identify post-depositional mixing and other stratigraphic puzzles.  We have applied single-grain dating to Paleoindian sites from the Southern High Plains of Texas and New Mexico, at Cactus Hill in Virginia, in central Alaska, and in northern Sonora.  We are also involved in dating sand dunes in the “ice-free corridor” in Alberta.

Our largest paleoindian project, which has been funded by three NSF grants, has been applying single-grain dating from several areas in central Brazil.  Our focus has been the Lagoa Santa region, in the state of Minas Gereisn, which has the largest concentration of Paleoindian skeletons ever recovered, more by an order of magnitude than all of North American combined.   Understanding distributions of single-grain equivalent dose values is a key component to these studies.


To make these data accessible to other researchers, we have provided links to a number of data files relevant to these studies.