What is relative dating in archaeology

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The Permian through Jurassic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah is a great example of Original Horizontality and the Law of Superposition, two important ideas used in relative dating.

These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

This approach helps to order events chronologically but it does not provide the absolute age of an object expressed in years.

Relative dating includes different techniques, but the most commonly used are soil stratigraphy analysis and typology.

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For example, if an artefact, say an oil lamp, is found co-located on the same floor of a governor's dwelling, and that floor can be dated in archaeology terms by reason of the patterns employed in the mosaic, then it is assumed that in relation to the floor that the lamp is of the same age.The underlying principle of stratigraphic analysis in archaeology is that of superposition.This term means that older artefacts are usually found below younger items.The half-life of C is approximately 5730 years, which is too short for this method to be used to date material millions of years old.The isotope of Potassium-40, which has a half-life of 1.25 Billion years, can be used for such long measurements.b) Absolute These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.

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