Radiometric dating equation
It is commonly assumed that if the remains or elements to be dated are older than the human species, the disciplines which study them are sciences such geology or paleontology, among some others.Nevertheless, the range of time within archaeological dating can be enormous compared to the average lifespan of a singular human being.
This usually requires what is commonly known as a "dating method".It was the case of an 18th-century sloop whose excavation was led in South Carolina (United States) in 1992.Thus, from the oldest to the youngest, all archaeological sites are likely to be dated by an appropriate method.For a non-exhaustive list of relative dating methods and relative dating applications used in geology, paleontology or archaeology, see the following: Same as geologists or paleontologists, archaeologists are also brought to determine the age of ancient materials, but in their case, the areas of their studies are restricted to the history of both ancient and recent humans.Thus, to be considered as archaeological, the remains, objects or artifacts to be dated must be related to human activity.Several dating methods exist, depending on different criteria and techniques, and some very well known examples of disciplines using such techniques are, for example, history, archaeology, geology, paleontology, astronomy and even forensic science, since in the latter it is sometimes necessary to investigate the moment in the past in which the death of a cadaver occurred.
Relative dating methods are unable to determine the absolute age of an object or event, but can determine the impossibility of a particular event happening before or after another event of which the absolute date is well known.
Historians, for example, know that Shakespeare's play Henry V was not written before 1587 because Shakespeare's primary source for writing his play was the second edition of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles, not published until 1587.
Thus, 1587 is the post quem dating of Shakespeare's play Henry V.
One of the largest mass movements in the Alps, the fossil Fernpass rockslide in the Northern Calcareous Alps (Tyrol, Austria), was dated absolutely for the first time.
Three independent radiometric dating methods were applied to geologically individual sample sites and enabled a cross-checking of the results.
The stratigraphy of an archaeological site can be used to date, or refine the date, of particular activities ("contexts") on that site.