Archaeologists dating methods

If we knew the precise length of reign for every Egyptian king, chronology would be no problem.However, we do not even know the number of kings for all periods, and there is also the possibility that reigns overlapped by coregency or in times of political disunity.It is always good practice, therefore, to take a wide range of samples of any datable material during excavation, so that there will be maximum potential for a dating programme afterwards.Ideally, materials used should complement each other and provide a means of cross-checking.These techniques both place assemblages of artefacts into relative order.

It does not, however, allow one to independently assign an accurate estimation of the age of an object as expressed in years.Seriation was developed in the USA to place in order finds from strata or other kinds of assemblages such as potsherds collected from the surface of sites.Prehistorians sometimes overestimate the accuracy and detail of frameworks based on historical evidence; in practice, early written sources may provide little more information than a scatter of radiocarbon dates.This principle presumes that the oldest layer of a stratigraphic sequence will be on the bottom and the most recent, or youngest, will be on the top.The earliest-known hominids in East Africa are often found in very specific stratigraphic contexts that have implications for their relative dating.On the one level, events and individuals are placed in an absolute chronology: the exact years and sometimes even months and days of the events and biographies are known.

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