Relative archaeological dating methods

06-Aug-2017 06:16

Dating inorganic materials is also quite challenging, because relatively few artifacts come labeled with a date of manufacture.

In fact, pottery, the most common type of artifact found at archaeological sites, seldom contains obvious indications of its age.

Archaeologists use many different techniques to determine the age of a particular artifact, site, or part of a site.

Two broad categories of dating or chronometric techniques that archaeologists use are called relative and absolute dating.

Because all living organisms contain a radioactive form of carbon (carbon 14) that decays at a known and steady rate, archaeologists can determine an organic object's age (if it is less than 40,000 years old) by measuring the amount of carbon 14 remaining in the object.

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The scholar most associated with the rules of stratigraphy (or law of superposition) is probably the geologist Charles Lyell.

The basis for stratigraphy seems quite intuitive today, but its applications were no less than earth-shattering to archaeological theory.Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.