Absolute chronometric dating methods

Plotting several curves can allow the archaeologist to develop a relative chronology for an entire site or group of sites.For detailed information about how seriation works, see Seriation: A Step by Step Description.

Most directly measure the amount of isotopes in rocks, using a mass spectrometer.When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.First used, and likely invented by archaeologist Sir William Flinders-Petrie in 1899, seriation (or sequence dating) is based on the idea that artifacts change over time.Like tail fins on a Cadillac, artifact styles and characteristics change over time, coming into fashion, then fading in popularity. The standard graphical result of seriation is a series of "battleship curves," which are horizontal bars representing percentages plotted on a vertical axis.

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