These include the uranium-thorium method, the potassium-argon method, and the rubidium-strontium method. Thermoluminescence (pronounced ther-moeloo-mi-NES-ence) dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery.
When a piece of pottery is heated in a laboratory at temperatures more than 930°F (500°C), electrons from quartz and other minerals in the pottery clay emit light.
With sensitive instrumentation, this range can be extended to 70,000 years.
The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.
Narrow rings grow in cold or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm or wet years.
The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given species and geographical area.
Radioactive decay: The predictable manner in which a population of atoms of a radioactive element spontaneously disintegrate over time.
Stratigraphy: Study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.