• Quaternary Geochronology
  • Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) dating, in particular:
    • Combined Uranium-series/Electron Spin Resonance (US-ESR) dating of fossil teeth
    • ESR dating of sedimentary optically bleached quartz grains.
  • ESR dosimetry of Quaternary materials
  • U-series dating of fossil teeth


My research is focused on two main lines: (i) Applications of ESR and U-series dating methods in relation with archaeological, human evolution-related or geological questions; (ii) Methodological developments in order to improve the reliability and accuracy of the ESR dating method.

1. Dating application studies in Quaternary and archaeological sciences:

  • Chronological framework of the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic hominid settlements in the Mediterranean area

e.g., Fuente Nueva-3, Barranco Leon, Atapuerca Gran Dolina, Vallparadis (Spain), Lunery, Brinay la Noira (France), Ain Boucherit, Ain Hanech, Tighennif (Algeria), Ain Beni Mathar (Morocco)

  • Direct dating of human fossils

e.g., Homo antecessor from Atapuerca Gran Dolina TD-6, Homo sapiens from Al Wusta (Saudi Arabia) and Misliya (Israel), Homo naledi from Rising Star complex (South Africa), Homo sp. from Mata Menge (Indonesia)

  • Fluvial geomorphology and evolution of fluvial systems and Neogene-Quaternary sedimentary basins

e.g., Ebro Basin (Spain), Moulouya river (Morocco), Cantabrian margin (Spain), Tajo Basin (Spain), Cher river (France), Rhine river (Germany)

2. Methodological developments:

  • Developing ESR dating applied to Early Pleistocene fossil teeth (>780 ka)

with a special focus on : (i) ESR dosimetry of fossil tooth enamel, through a better understanding of the composition and behavior of the radiation-induced ESR signal in fossil tooth enamel; (ii) Uranium uptake and migration into dental tissues

  • Improving the reliability of the ESR dating method applied to optically bleached quartz grains

in particular: (i) Optimizing the experimental conditions for ESR measurements at low temperature; (ii) Understanding the behaviour of the ESR signals with the radiation dose; (iii) Evaluating the potential of the Ti centres for geochronological purpose; (iv) Cross-comparisons with other, numerical or not, dating methods (OSL, cosmogenic nuclides, magnetostratigraphy …)

  • Identifying the main sources of uncertainty in dose rate evaluation

e.g., In situ evaluation of the environmental dose rate; Uncertainty on grain size and shape and its impact on ESR/OSL dating of quartz and feldspar grains; Quantifying HF etching on quartz and feldspars


Quaternary Geochronology; Electron Spin Resonance (ESR); Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR); ESR/EPR dating; ESR/EPR dosimetry; U-series dating; Fossil teeth; Quartz; Early hominid occupations, Orce, Vallparadís, Atapuerca, Ain Boucherit.

Examples of recent dating studies

Homo sapiens finger bone from Al Wusta, Saudi Arabia (Groucutt et al., 2018)
Homo naledi from Rising star complex, South Africa (Dirks et al., 2017)
Homo antecessor from Atapuerca Gran Dolina TD-6, Spain (Duval et al., 2018)
2.4 Ma-old artefact from Ain Boucherit, Algeria (Sahnouni et al., 2018)

Last update: 01/01/2019