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Archaeology: Dating methods January 13th 2011.doc

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

ANT 101H5S January 10 2011 Archaeology: Dating Methods questions to ask- when ? Why used ? How does it work ? What considerations ? Limitations of the method ? RELATIVE DATING - involves ordering artifacts into sequences relative to each other • Stratigraphy strata=deeper in to earth, goback through time. Law of superposition=1 layer lies on top of the other, so that the layer at the bottom is the oldest (ie:deposited first.) • Fluorine & Uranium Dating-relative.doesnt give absolute date. • Typological sequencinig • Palynology (pollen dating) • Palentology (faunal dating) Stratigraphy The study of stratification • Artifacts are deposited into layers – strata • Law of Superposition: one layer lies on top of the other, so that the layer at the bottom is the oldest (i.e. deposited first) Fluorine & Uranium Dating Method for the relative dating of bones • Bones in the ground absorb fluorine & uranium from the ground H O 2 look at # of F & U, therefore one bone is older than another depending on the # of F & U found. Older bones have more f and u. • cant say how old just <> than this that bone. • Therefore, older bones have more fluorine & uranium • limitations and disadvantages site specific; environmentally variable different amount of ground water cant compare long distances variable related to acidity. Typological sequencing Classification of artifacts into types • Similar artifacts are grouped together- seriation. • Relative dates are assigned to an artifact if it matches other artifacts already recognized within a well established typological system • limitations-regionally dependant. Palynology (pollen dating) Based of the relative dating of pollen grains • All flowering plants produce pollen • Fit pollen grains at a site to a broader zone sequence go through vast regions,compare to pollen in area (pollen sequence) ex : come earlier than the other. Palentology (faunal dating) Based on the relative extinction of mammalian species • Sequence of changing species -1 is older than the other. • May be imprecise relative relationship of different species based on rate of extinction. 2. Absolute Dating - Designation of the age of an event, object or fossil in terms of solar years (absolute time) • Calendar & historical chronologies-used in mass population written documents/chronology. • Dendrochronology (tree ring dating)-wood objects, its pattern/# of rings in trees. • Radiocarbon dating (C14)
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