Start Archaeologists dating methods

Archaeologists dating methods

Dating material drawn from the archaeological record can be made by a direct study of an artifact, or may be deduced by association with materials found in the context the item is drawn from or inferred by its point of discovery in the sequence relative to datable contexts.

Many archaeological sites are discovered accidently, often during construction projects.

Some archaeologists call what they do as “running in front of bulldozers to retrieves objects before construction at a site begins.” Other are uncovered by following clues in historical records or digging where mounds and ruined buildings have been found.

The stratigraphy of an archaeological site can be used to date, or refine the date, of particular activities ("contexts") on that site.

For example, if a context is sealed between two other contexts of known date, it can be inferred that the middle context must date to between those dates.

As an example Pinnacle Point's caves, in the southern coast of South Africa, provided evidence that marine resources (shellfish) have been regularly exploited by humans as of 170,000 years ago.

On the other hand, remains as recent as a hundred years old can also be the target of archaeological dating methods.

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