What methods are used in relative dating

These strata are often most visible in canyons or gorges which are good sites to find and identify fossils.Understanding the geologic history of an area and the different strata is important to interpreting and understanding archaeological findings.The main relative dating method is stratigraphy (pronounced stra-TI-gra-fee), which is the study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.This method is based on the assumption (which nearly always holds true) that deeper layers of rock were deposited earlier in Earth's history, and thus are older than more shallow layers.Once the organism dies, the Carbon-14 begins to decay at an extremely predictable rate.Radioactive carbon has a half-life of approximately 5,730 years which means that every 5,730 years, half of the carbon-14 will have decayed.This also works with stone tools which are found abundantly at different sites and across long periods of time.Stratigraphic dating is based on the principle of depositional superposition of layers of sediments called strata.

If archaeologists know how pottery styles, glazes, and techniques have changed over time they can date sites based on the ratio of different kinds of pottery.This principle presumes that the oldest layer of a stratigraphic sequence will be on the bottom and the most recent, or youngest, will be on the top.The earliest-known hominids in East Africa are often found in very specific stratigraphic contexts that have implications for their relative dating.Absolute dating methods are used to determine an actual date in years for the age of an object.Before the advent of absolute dating methods in the twentieth century, nearly all dating was relative.

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