What is relative dating in archaeology

31 Jan

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

Unless tied to historical records, dating by archaeological methods can only be relative -- such as stratigraphy, typology, , fluorine and nitrogen test, and radiometric assay.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.Relative dating is the science of determining the relative order of past events (i.e., the age of an object in comparison to another), without necessarily determining their absolute age, (i.e. In geology, rock or superficial deposits, fossils and lithologies can be used to correlate one stratigraphic column with another.Prior to the discovery of radiometric dating which provided a means of absolute dating in the early 20th century, archaeologists and geologists used this technique to determine ages of materials.