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Lecture 4

ANTA01 Lecture 4.docx

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Mary Silcox

rdOctober 3 2011 Overview y Dating methods y The stuff of biological anthropology and archaeology y Excavation techniques and principlesy Relative dating no actual age provides a relative ordering of material or sites Tells you that object A is older than object B y Absolute datingchronometric dating gives an actual chronological age usually with an error range it is an estimate for an object or part of a siteRelative Dating y Stratigraphy sub discipline of geology study of the sequential layering of deposits Layers get deposited on earth over time This is what is studied by stratigraphy y Principle of super positioning the lower layers were deposited before the upper layers Work from the top down o But sometimes human dig into earth creating a problem If you dig into that replacing the dirt may mix the layers o Over a longer time scale the earth can fold upon itself o Absent of these conditions however the principle of super positioning should hold true y Stratigraphic column is a diagram that shows therelative positions of these layers y Material found on top is younger than material on the bottom Relative age for the materials y Goal of archaeology is not just to find cool stuff but to interpret the stuff properly y Physical correlation linking of geological layers strata based on their physical characteristics o Iridium anomaly65 million years ago a meteor hit a region of Mexico Spreading iridium dust This spike in iridium spread across the world y Because we dont have these kind of global events we can use fossilso The law of faunal succession strata that contains fossils of the same animals are of the same age o Uses index fossils which are broadly distributed with species of short duration o Used in biostratigraphy Faunal dating y Cross dating use artifacts that have the same characteristics o Each period has its own unique designs and characteristics we can estimate ages of artifacts by comparing their similarities with materials that have been dated y These are all relative ages
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