Natural thermoluminescence (TL) data for 26 meteorites for which orbital elements have been estimated are reported. Calculations of equilibrium natural TL level in ordinary chondrites suggest that TL should be a sensitive indicator of perihelion. Meteorites with perihelia <0.85 AU should have very low levels of natural TL (<5 krad at 250°C in the glow curve), while meteorites with perihelia >0.85 AU should show a range of natural TL (>5 krad) with significant scatter as a result of slight variations in dose rate (shielding) and albedo. The data presented here generally agree with the theory and suggest an effective dose rate of ≈3 rad/year for most meteorites. Comparison with cosmic ray exposure ages indicates that natural TL level is also partly related to exposure age. Meteorites with high (>20 Ma) exposure ages generally have a lower and more constrained (10-30 krad) range of natural TL than meteorites with ages <20 Ma ages (10->90 krad). We suggest that this reflects orbital evolution, since mature meteorite orbits evolve to lower perihelia. The data presented here confirm the earlier observations that only a very small proportion of meteorites have experienced orbits with low perihelia within the last 10 5 years. The data suggest that <15% of ordinary chondrites have been in recent orbits with perihelia <0.85 AU. The reheating of these meteorites is independently confirmed by their generally low 3He/ 21Ne ratios.