Methods of dating in archaeology

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The dating of remains is essential in archaeology, in order to place finds in correct relation to one another, and to understand what was present in the experience of any human being at a given time and place.

Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms.

The annual rings vary in size, depending on the weather conditions in each region, but they are similar for all trees of the same area.

If the sequence of rings is know for a certain area it is possible to fit in all new woods found and to date them very precisely.

Artefacts often have a distinctive style or design, which developed over a period of time.

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All living organic materials contain Carbon-14 atoms in a constant number.

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.

For Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean, this method from European prehistory is currently under development in a project based at Vienna.

Archaeological Dating Methods introduces students to many of the more common dating methods used or found in related literature.

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