Relative and chronometric dating

Posted by / 22-Jul-2020 05:16

Relative and chronometric dating

Relative Dating Before the 20th cent., archaeologists and geologists were largely limited to the use of relative dating techniques.Estimates of the absolute age of prehistoric and geological events and remains amounted to little more than inspired guesswork, as there was no scientific basis for testing such proposals.With the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptologists had access to such an absolute timescale, and the age, in calender years, of the Egyptian dynasties could be established.Furthermore, Egyptian trade wares were used as a basis for establishing the age of the relative chronologies developed for adjoining regions, such as Palestine and Greece.Technological changes can be used for relative dating of archaeological material.

As new locations are investigated, the geologist attempts to fit the new profiles into the master sequence of geological strata for that region.Thus, Sir Arthur Evans was able to establish an accurate absolute chronology for the ancient civilizations of Crete and Greece through the use of Egyptian trade objects that appeared in his excavations—a technique known as cross-dating.In dendrochronology, the age of wood can be determined through the counting of the number of annual rings in its cross section.From this, scientists can establish pollen diagrams (describing the relative abundance of different pollen-producing plants at a given point in time) and floral time charts (showing how climate and flora changed over time).The principle of stratigraphic dating is used to establish the relative age of these floral and fossil assemblages.

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In relative dating, the temporal order of a sequence of events is determined, allowing the investigator to surmise whether a particular object or event is older or younger than, or occurred before or after, another object or event.

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