CERSA Luminescence

    • our research focus combines novel and innovative techniques in luminescence dating, sedimentology and geomorphology to address research questions in Earth and Environmental Sciences.
    • we provide the link between the geodynamic processes that shape our continents, and the geomorphic processes that modify these.
    • the dating range of the technique spans several hundred thousand years: the time span which encompasses the entire history of our species and several others in the genus Homo.


    Research Projects

    CERSA Luminescence’s research links directly into the research themes of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Global Change, Solid Earth & Planetary Science, Earth System Evolution). Our research spans the UK and beyond:

    Palaeo-landscape reconstruction of Neolithic Drenovac and its environs in the middle Morava valley, Serbia



    Colleagues involved in these projects include:

        • Aayush Srivastava, PDRA on TerraSAGE: Terraces as Sustainable Environments, University of St Andrews
        • Soetkin Vervust (2017-2020), Flippo Brandolini (2020-), Sofia Germanidou(2020-), MSCA IFs, Newcastle University
        • Sarah Boyd (2021), PhD, University of St Andrews
        • Sheri Kapahnke (2020), MSc, Texas A&M University



    CERSA Luminescence contributes to cross-disciplinary research in St Andrews, spanning archaeology, classics, ecology, environmental science, geology, history and sociology:

        • Centre for Ancient Environmental Studies (formerly the Centre for Landscape Studies). Human interactions with and representations of the environment of the Ancient Mediterranean, Europe, and West Asia.
        • Centre for Archaeology, Technology and Cultural Heritage.
        • The SCAPE TRUST. Archaeology, history and past environments of Scotland’s coastal zone.
        • Scottish Oceans Institute.



    The luminescence dating laboratories in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, are comprised of a dedicated sample preparation room, and the luminescence laboratory. Our instrument includes:

        • 2 Risø TL-OSL DA-12 readers and 1 Risø TL-OSL DA-20 reader
        • an array of alpha and beta counters
        • 2 Ortec Micronomads with 2×2” NaI detectors
        • 1 GF Instruments Gamma Surveyor Vario with a 2×2” NaI detector


  • CERSA luminescence benefits from close links within the School to the St Andrews Isotope Geochemistry (StAIG) laboratories and the Faculty for the Luminescence of Minerals, and with other research institutes, including the Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory in the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling. 


Tim directs the luminescence laboratories within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews. He is a Research Officer within the same school, and is a Honorary Research Fellow at both the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling.

Prior to this, he was a Research Associate (2010-17) at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) and Research Scientist (2008-10) at CASP, Cambridge University.

Tim completed a PhD in Geology at the University of Edinburgh in 2007, and is a BSc (Hons) graduate of the University of St Andrews.

Tasiilaq, E. Greenland