Cross dating in archaeology

It must be made clear at the outset that typology is not, strictly speaking, a dating method, but a means of placing artefacts into some kind of order.

Because the thickness of these rings is affected by annual climatic factors, distinctive sequences of rings may be recognised in different samples of timber and used to establish their contemporaneity.

Radiocarbon dating has grown exponentially, and many problems and inaccuracies have been isolated and examined, some leading to major adjustments of the results.

Without doubt, it has made the greatest single contribution to the development of archaeology since geologists and prehistorians escaped from the constraints of historical chronology in the nineteenth century.

The transformation of archaeological dating that began around 1950 continues, but archaeologists may overlook the revolution in scientific dating that had already taken place in geology during the first half of the twentieth century; from this wider perspective, the emergence of radiocarbon dating may seem slightly less dramatic Accurate knowledge of the age of the Earth was of little direct help to archaeologists, but it emphasised the potential of scientific dating techniques.

The first half of the twentieth century witnessed similar progress that began with the dating of recent geological periods in which early hominids lived, and ended with the introduction of radiocarbon dating.

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