Dating techniques prehistoric
There are two main categories of dating methods in archaeology: indirect or relative dating and absolute dating.
Relative dating includes methods that rely on the analysis of comparative data or the context (eg, geological, regional, cultural) in which the object one wishes to date is found.
The absolute dating method first appeared in 1907 with Lord Rutherford and Professor Boltwood at Yale University, but wasn’t accepted until the 1950s.
The first method was based on radioactive elements whose property of decay occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life of the isotope.
Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.
The sequence of development of culture or the relationship between events that represent culture can be established only when events can be placed in proper time.
Chronology, the study of events in time frame, is hence the central theme of archaeologist, like the geologist who deals with the story of earth history.
Based on a discipline of geology called stratigraphy, rock layers are used to decipher the sequence of historical geological events.
Relative techniques can determine the sequence of events but not the precise date of an event, making these methods unreliable.
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This is an informational tour in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth’s history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.