Define absolute and relative dating

31 Jan

Relative dating includes methods that rely on the analysis of comparative data or the context (eg, geological, regional, cultural) in which the object one wishes to date is found.

Dendrochronology Dendrochronology is a method that studies the rings of tree trunks to define characteristic sequences by analyzing the morphology of growth rings for a given species.

This method is based on the principle that the variation in tree growth from one year to another is influenced by the degree of precipitation, sunshine, temperature, soil type and all ambient conditions and that, consequently, reference patterns can be distinguished.

Several sets of rings from different trees are matched to build an average sequence.

Subsequently, overlapping series of average sequences from trees that died at different times and come from various sources (ie, the wood of historic buildings, archaeological and fossil woods) are used to build a chronological sequence covering several hundred years which becomes a reference.

Radiocarbon Dating Radiocarbon dating is the most widely used dating technique in archaeology.

It relies on a natural phenomenon that is the foundation of life on earth.

Typology Typology is a method that compares reference objects in order to classify them according to their similarity or dissimilarity and link them to a specific context or period.

This technique is frequently used when it is impossible to make use of absolute dating methods; it generally allows archaeologists to identify the period to which a cultural site or object belongs, without specifying the date of occupation.

Indeed, carbon 14 (14C) is formed from the reaction caused by cosmic rays that convert nitrogen into carbon 14 and then carbon dioxide by combining with carbon 12 (12C) and carbon 13 (13C ), which are stable carbon isotopes.