Two types of archaeological dating

This type of meticulous fieldwork prepares archaeologists for planned excavations.

However, not all excavations are planned; there are also accidental excavations and rescue excavations.

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.

Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard.

But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.

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

For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).

Every excavation involves years of study, scouting and planning.

Some archaeologists consider fieldwork the entire outdoor archaeological process, from scouting to digging.

Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.

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