The paper describes thermoluminescence (TL) properties of AlN:Y2O3 ceramics irradiated with ionising radiation. A high TL sensitivity of AlN:Y2O3 ceramics to radiation encouraged a study of the AlN ceramics for application as a dosimetric material. The paper presents experimental data on: glow curve, emission spectrum, dose response, energy dependence, influence of heating rate and fading rate. The measured TL characteristics were compared with those of well-known, widely used TLDs, i.e. LiF:Mg,Ti, LiF:Mg,Cu,P and Al2O3:C. It is concluded that AlN:Y2O3 ceramics showing a radiation sensitivity which is approximately 50 times greater than that of LiF:Mg,Ti is an interesting dosimetry material; however due to a high fading rate of the TL of AlN:Y2O3 on storage at room temperature, a further development of the material for improving the fading characteristics is needed for its application for dosimetry purposes. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.