A Review of Radio Carbon Dating Potassium Argon Dating Seriation and Stratigraphy

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A Review of Radio Carbon Dating Potassium Argon Dating Seriation and Stratigraphy

Keywords radio carbon dating potassium argon dating seriation stratigraphy

Explain the importance of the following dating methods a radio carbon dating b potassium argon dating c seriation d stratigraphy

Archaeology can be defined as the scientific study of the human past of ancient human behaviour from the earliest times right up to the presentFagan 2006 The study of archaeology as an academic discipline is dependant on the accuracy of various dating methods Dating methods in archaeology can be divided into two groups Relative dating methods and Absolute dating methods Although the importance of the different dating methods may outweigh each other the all are very important to the study of archaeology as a whole This essay shall focus on the importance of radio carbon dating potassium argon dating seriation and stratigraphy to the archaeological study

Accurate dating has always been of importance to scientist and archaeologist alike In archaeology dating can be categorised into relative dating and absolute dating techniques In moving forward explain the importance of radio carbon dating potassium argon dating seriation and stratigraphy to the archaeological study one must first understand the difference between relative dating and absolute dating in archaeology Relative dating in archaeology assumes the age of an artifact in relation and by comparison to other objects found in its environs The style of the artifact and its archaeological location stratigraphically are required to arrive at a relative date The limit to relative dating is that it cannot provide an accurate year or a specific date of use Absolute dating on the other hand is the method of determining an approximate calculated age of an artifact in archaeology The goal of archaeologist is ultimately to know how old sequences sites and artefacts are in calendar years To accomplish this absolute dating methods are used From traditional historical methods to those which are based on the great variety of modern scientific techniques currently available As compared to relative dating which only provides an order of events absolute dating presents archaeologists with a more calculated evaluation of the objects age

The first area of discussion in understanding the different dating techniques in archaeology would be stratigraphy According to Renfrew and Bahn stratigraphy is the study of stratification the laying down or depositing of strata one above the other Renfrew and Bahn 2008 122 This basically involves ordering things into sequences A succession of layers should provide a relative chronological sequence from the earliest the bottom layer to the latest top as seen in figure one Its important to note that stratigraphy involves the Law of Superposition Fagan describes the Law of Superposition as the notion that underlying levels are earlier than those that cover them Fagan 2009 103 He further explains that the lower levels are relatively earlier than the later strata which is basically entails Scientific archaeologists grasped at this rather quickly although it wasnt used as a consistent technique until around the turn of the nineteenth century Since then the technique has been refined and tools such as theHarris Matrixassist in picking out the sometimes quite complicated and delicate deposits The study of stratigraphy on archaeological sites was used in North America and Mesopotamia The importance of stratigraphy is good and well but it still does not provide an accurate form of dating it all involves speculation This is since as a downfall since archaeological research strives in the most accurate form of understanding of the past societies and cultures

Figure1

Title Stratification example

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The other archaeological dating method to be discussed is seriation Seriation is a very common form of archaeological interpretation Seriation is a form of relative dating technique With the assumption that artefacts changed with pass

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