Relative dating techniques for kids

There are dendrochronological records for Europe and the Aegean, and the International Tree Ring Database has contributions from 21 different countries.

The main drawback to dendrochronology is its reliance on the existence of relatively long-lived vegetation with annual growth rings.

Clark Wissler, an anthropologist researching Native American groups in the Southwest, recognized the potential for such dating, and brought Douglass subfossil wood from puebloan ruins.

Unfortunately, the wood from the pueblos did not fit into Douglass's record, and over the next 12 years, they searched in vain for a connecting ring pattern, building a second prehistoric sequence of 585 years.

In other words, artifacts found in the upper layers of a site will have been deposited more recently than those found in the lower layers.

Cross-dating of sites, comparing geologic strata at one site with another location and extrapolating the relative ages in that manner, is still an important dating strategy used today, primarily when sites are far too old for absolute dates to have much meaning.

Each tree then, contains a record of rainfall for the length of its life, expressed in density, trace element content, stable isotope composition, and intra-annual growth ring width.

The first and simplest method of absolute dating is using objects with dates inscribed on them, such as coins, or objects associated with historical events or documents.

Seriation is thought to be the first application of statistics in archaeology. The most famous seriation study was probably Deetz and Dethlefsen's study Death's Head, Cherub, Urn and Willow, on changing styles on gravestones in New England cemeteries.

The method is still a standard for cemetery studies.

For example, JJA Worsaae used this law to prove the Three Age System.

Seriation, on the other hand, was a stroke of genius.

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