Relative techniques can determine the sequence of events but not the precise date of an event, making these methods unreliable.b) Absolute These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.Relative dating includes different techniques, but the most commonly used are soil stratigraphy analysis and typology.On the other hand, absolute dating includes all methods that provide figures about the real estimated age of archaeological objects or occupations.Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.The first method was based on radioactive elements whose property of decay occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life of the isotope.Today, many different radioactive elements have been used, but the most famous absolute dating method is radiocarbon dating, which uses the isotope C.
The scholar most associated with the rules of stratigraphy (or law of superposition) is probably the geologist Charles Lyell.
For more information on stratigraphy and how it is used in archaeology, see the Stratigraphy glossary entry.
For those researchers working in the field of human history, the chronology of events remains a major element of reflection.
Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.
By examining the object's relation to layers of deposits in the area, and by comparing the object to others found at the site, archaeologists can estimate when the object arrived at the site.