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Chpt Four Dating Method and Chronology.docx

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Classical Studies
CLST 129

Chpt Four: Dating Method and Chronology April-21-13 5:33 PM  Relative dating: the idea that something is older (or younger) relative to something else is the basis of relative dating  Absolute Dating: the full or absolute age in years before the present of different events or part of a sequence o Absolute dates help us find how quickly changes such as the introduction of agriculture occurred and whether they occurred simultaneously or at different time in different times in different regions of the world o Only in past 50 years have independent means of absolute dating become available, before only reliable dates were historical ones such as the date of the reign of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen  Our timescales must relate to a fixed point in time o In the Christian world it is the birth of chirst in the year 1AD, years are either counted back from his birth (before christ) or (after christ) - not only system o In Muslim world the basic fixed point is from the prophets departure from mecca o Scientists who derive dates from radioactive methods want a neutral international system and have chosen to count back from the present (bp).  Bp refers to before 1950 the year of the establishment of radiocarbon dating  Convenient for scientist but confusing for everyone else o Paleolithic period stretches back two or three million years before 10,000 bc  Stratification: the laying down or depositing of strata or layers (also called deposits) one above the other o Underlying layer was deposited first and therefore older then the overlying layers  Association: two objects were buried at the same time, means that if an absolute date can be given to one can be given to the other Style: through distinctive shape and decoration they are in some sense characteristic of the  society that produced them  Typological sequence: artifacts with similar characteristics were produced at the same time  Seriation: assemblages of objects can be arranged in serial order to create a relative chronology  Pollen Dating: all flowering plants produce pollen and these grains are almost indestructible o Surviving thousands and even millions of years allows experts to construct detailed sequences of past vegetation and climate  Literate societies recorded there own histories giving us absolute dates  Tree Ring Dating o Modern technique o Developed by A.E. Douglass in the early decades of last 18th century o Used as a successful means of calibrating or correcting radiocarbon dates or as an independent method of absolute dating in its own right o Tree rings are not of uniform thickness  Rings will vary for two reasons, the rings become narrower with the increasing age of the tree and secondly, the amount a tree grows each
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