Relative and chronometric dating

12-Mar-2018 02:19

QUESTION: What is the difference between relative and absolute dating techniques?

ANSWER: In relative dating, something is determined to be older or younger than something else without determining an exact age.

Relative dating includes different techniques, but the most commonly used are soil stratigraphy analysis and typology.

On the other hand, absolute dating includes all methods that provide figures about the real estimated age of archaeological objects or occupations.

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

Stratigraphy Inspired by geology, stratigraphy uses the principle of the superposition of strata which suggests that, in a succession of undisturbed SOILS, the upper horizons are newer than the lower ones.Moreover, stratigraphic dating is sometimes based on the objects that are found within the soil strata.Indeed, some items whose exact or approximate age is known are called "diagnostic artifacts." Examples of such objects include very specific stone tools, different pottery styles, objects that belong to a specific period (eg, the historic period or the French regime), coins with a production date, or other items bearing a trademark and whose history can be traced in historical records.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.This approach helps to order events chronologically but it does not provide the absolute age of an object expressed in years.

Stratigraphy Inspired by geology, stratigraphy uses the principle of the superposition of strata which suggests that, in a succession of undisturbed SOILS, the upper horizons are newer than the lower ones.Moreover, stratigraphic dating is sometimes based on the objects that are found within the soil strata.Indeed, some items whose exact or approximate age is known are called "diagnostic artifacts." Examples of such objects include very specific stone tools, different pottery styles, objects that belong to a specific period (eg, the historic period or the French regime), coins with a production date, or other items bearing a trademark and whose history can be traced in historical records.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.This approach helps to order events chronologically but it does not provide the absolute age of an object expressed in years.Generally, each stratum is isolated in a separate chronological unit that incorporates artifacts.