Absolute and relative dating methods in prehistory
Methods borrowed from the natural sciences are also used for dating objects of prehistoric epochs.
Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.
Petrie used sequence dating to work back from the earliest historical phases of Egypt into pre-dynastic Neolithic times, using groups of contemporary artefacts deposited together at a single time in graves.
Seriation was developed in the USA to place in order finds from strata or other kinds of assemblages such as potsherds collected from the surface of sites.
Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.
Carbon-14 is also passed onto the animals that eat those plants.
Search for absolute and relative dating methods in prehistory:
Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.