Methods of dating trees

Absolute dating, the ability to attach a specific chronological date to an object or collection of objects, was a breakthrough for archaeologists.Until the 20th century, with its multiple developments, only relative dates could be determined with any confidence.Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.

Without those, the archaeologists were in the dark as to the age of various societies. The use of tree ring data to determine chronological dates, dendrochronology, was first developed in the American southwest by astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass.In 1929, they found a charred log near Show Low, Arizona, that connected the two patterns.It was now possible to assign a calendar date to archaeological sites in the American southwest for over 1000 years.In other words, artifacts found in the upper layers of a site will have been deposited more recently than those found in the lower layers.Cross-dating of sites, comparing geologic strata at one site with another location and extrapolating the relative ages in that manner, is still an important dating strategy used today, primarily when sites are far too old for absolute dates to have much meaning.

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