Quartz sediments from the floor deposit at Jinmium rock shelter have been investigated using the multiple-grain and single-grain optical dating methods described by Galbraith et al. (1999, this volume). Here we present the results of this dating programme and argue that the artefact-bearing sediments were deposited within the last 10000 years. This time interval is consistent with the radiocarbon chronology but is much younger than previous claims for initial human occupation during the Pleistocene. Analysis of individual grains revealed also that the characteristic saturation doses of some grains are unusually high, which may permit dating of deposits older than a few hundred thousand years. Such grain-to-grain differences raise doubts, however, about the validity of using multiple-grain samples to investigate the phenomenology of quartz luminescence.