Relative and chronometric dating techniques

04 Mar

Two broad categories of dating or chronometric techniques that archaeologists use are called relative and absolute dating.Like tail fins on a Cadillac, artifact styles and characteristics change over time, coming into fashion, then fading in popularity. The standard graphical result of seriation is a series of "battleship curves," which are horizontal bars representing percentages plotted on a vertical axis.Plotting several curves can allow the archaeologist to develop a relative chronology for an entire site or group of sites.For example, JJA Worsaae used this law to prove the Three Age System.For more information on stratigraphy and how it is used in archaeology, see the Stratigraphy glossary entry.

When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.

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