Archaeologists have developed a new method of dating ancient ceramic artifacts by measuring their moisture content.
The technique involves measuring the mass of a sample and then heating it to around 500C in a furnace. This removes the water that has combined with it over its lifetime.
The sample is then weighed in a “super-accurate” device, known as a microbalance, to determine the precise rate at which the material will combine with water over time.
Using the time law, it is possible to extrapolate the data to calculate the time it will take to regain the mass lost on heating – revealing the sample’s age.