Carbon dating absolute dating

This is the only type of techniques that can help clarifying the actual age of an object.

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However, this method is sometimes limited because the reoccupation of an area may require excavation to establish the foundation of a building, for instance, that goes through older layers.

In this case, even if the foundation of the building is found in the same stratigraphic level as the previous occupation, the two events are not contemporary.

The amount of carbon 14 remaining in the material to date is compared to a reference standard (ratio 14C/total carbon, 12C and 13C) to calculate the time elapsed since its occurrence.

A sample requires 10 to 20 grams of matter and usually consists of charred organic material, mainly charcoal, but bones (zooarchaeology) and shells can also be dated using this technique.

Indeed, some items whose exact or approximate age is known are called "diagnostic artifacts." Examples of such objects include very specific stone tools, different pottery styles, objects that belong to a specific period (eg, the historic period or the French regime), coins with a production date, or other items bearing a trademark and whose history can be traced in historical records.

Their presence on archaeological sites is used to date the soil layers and the objects and events they are associated with and thus contributes to refine the chronology of sites.

Dendrochronology Dendrochronology is a method that studies the rings of tree trunks to define characteristic sequences by analyzing the morphology of growth rings for a given species.

This method is based on the principle that the variation in tree growth from one year to another is influenced by the degree of precipitation, sunshine, temperature, soil type and all ambient conditions and that, consequently, reference patterns can be distinguished.

Typology Typology is a method that compares reference objects in order to classify them according to their similarity or dissimilarity and link them to a specific context or period.

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