Methods of dating archaeological sites

25-Sep-2016 19:54

There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.

Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else.

The method was tested on two dendrochronological series from Scythian barrows of known age in Southern Siberia: the Pazyryk barrows (the Altai Mountains) and the Dogee-Baary-2 burials (Western Sayan Mountains) separated by 450 km.

The analysis has shown that the Pazyryk barrow is younger by 80 or -4 yr than the Dogee-Baary-2 burials.

When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.

Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.This result is in agreement with the new chronology of Scythian-related sites suggested for Southern Siberia and Central Asia.When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook University.A feature is evidence of a human activity that is not movable, and usually has a vertical component.An aspect of a site that is only horizontal, such as a road, is not a feature.

Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.This result is in agreement with the new chronology of Scythian-related sites suggested for Southern Siberia and Central Asia.When it comes to determining the age of stuff scientists dig out of the ground, whether fossil or artifact, “there are good dates and bad dates and ugly dates,” says paleoanthropologist John Shea of Stony Brook University.A feature is evidence of a human activity that is not movable, and usually has a vertical component.An aspect of a site that is only horizontal, such as a road, is not a feature.In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.