For example, the results of dendrochronology (tree-ring) analysis may tell us that a particular roof beam was from a tree chopped down in A. For example, the stratum, or layer, in which an artifact is found in an ancient structure may make it clear that the artifact was deposited sometime after people stopped living in the structure but before the roof collapsed.
However, the stratigraphic position alone cannot tell us the exact date.
Without the ability to date archaeological sites and specific contexts within them, archaeologists would be unable to study cultural change and continuity over time.
The volcanic layers can be dated, and the archaeological material will date to the period between those two volcanic eruptions.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chronometric dating; absolute dates; absolute chronology; absolute age determination (antonym: relative dating)CATEGORY: chronology; technique DEFINITION: The determination of age with reference to a specific time scale, such as a fixed calendrical system or in years before present (B.
P., BP), based on measurable physical and chemical qualities or historical associations such as coins and written records.
Relative dating methods do not tell archaeologists exactly how old things are, but only how old things are relative to each other.
Archaeologists work on the principle that objects at the bottom of an undisturbed were put there before objects that are above them, so objects found in the lower levels of a site are usually older than objects found in higher levels.