Problems with archaeological dating methods

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Relative dating involves ordering things into sequences.The ‘things’ can be artefacts or immaterial things that might occur within the environment.This means that carbon dating can only be used effectively with artefacts older than five thousand years.Another problem is that there has to be some organic material at the site in question, because, as I have already mentioned, Carbon-14 only exists in organic materials.

In conclusion, there are many different ways of aging artefacts and sites, some of which are more effective than others, although each method has an up and a down side. 2000 Archaeology: Theories Methods and Practice, Thames and Hudson Hawcroft, J.

These rings vary in thickness, due to the conditions of that particular year, making this method of dating useful as it tells us that little bit more, other than the age.

If the year was a warm, wet year, then the ring in the tree will be thicker then the average diameter, whereas if the year was a cold, dry year, then the band will be thinner than the average diameter.[Figure 2: Age rings in an Oak tree]*In order to use dendrochronology, things called tree-ring chronologies have to be constructed for use as references.

Pollen can be organised into such a sequence and this sequence is broken down into areas called zones, in this particular case, pollen zones.

As pollen is virtually indestructible, it exists for great lengths of time, meaning we can age a site to as far back as three million years ago.

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