This analysis provides a radiocarbon age of the sample, which must then be calibrated in accordance with a radiocarbon dating calibration curve such as the one pictured below.A variety of factors have caused the amount of 14C present in the atmosphere to vary over time, resulting in deviations between the age predicted by radiocarbon dating and the absolute date of a specimen. Sample contamination must be carefully avoided to ensure measurement accuracy. Cornell University Press, Itha “Dating In Exposed and Surface Contexts”, ed.: Beck, Charlotte. Seminar Press, New York: NY, 1973 “Radiocarbon Dating”.

michels joseph dating techniques in archaeology-2

However the chronology is often much more complicated than superposition alone, due to complex intertwined histories that are revealed in a cross section of soil.

Archeological sites are often characterized by intertemporal relationships as spaces are used and reused by different civilizations throughout history.

There are several other dating techniques employed in archaeology.

Some of these include: fission-track dating, paleomagnetic and archaeomagnetic dating, obsidian hydration dating, and thermoluminescence dating.

Through stratigraphy, the composition of the site can be seen in profile, establishing the varied histories layered in the soil.

Differences in soil color and texture can provide a fundamental delineation of individual layers, or strata.Thermoluminescence Dating Thermoluminescence can be used to date materials containing crystalline minerals to a specific heating event.This is useful for ceramics, as it determines the date of firing, as well as for lava, or even sediments that were exposed to substantial sunlight.Communities may reuse past constructions, soil layering may have been disturbed through tilling, and events such as flooding can disturb layers or deposit foreign soils.All this contributes to complicated historical context of strata, even after they are delineated.The accumulation of trapped electrons, and the gaps left behind in the spaces they vacated, occurs at a measurable rate proportional to the radiation received from a specimen’s immediate environment.