Relative and chronometric dating methods

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SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archaeological context CATEGORY: term; technique DEFINITION: The time and space setting of an artifact, feature, or culture.The context of a find is its position on a site, its relationship through association with other artifacts, and its chronological position as revealed through stratigraphy.Each of these is basically an independent science, although specialists in one field frequently consult and cooperate with scholars in the other.Physical anthropology is generally classified as a natural science, while cultural anthropology is considered a social science.Think of relative time as physical subdivisions of the rock found in the Earth's stratigraphy, and absolute time as the measurements taken upon those to determine the actual time which has expired.Absolute time measurements can be used to calibrate the relative time scale, producing an integrated geologic or "geochronologic" time scale.It is important to realize that with new information about subdivision or correlation of relative time, or new measurements of absolute time, the dates applied to the time scale can and do change.Revisions to the relative time scale have occurred since the late 1700s.

CATEGORY: technique; term DEFINITION: A context of an archaeological find that has been disturbed by subsequent human activity or natural phenomena.The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.No other scientific method has managed to revolutionize man’s understanding not only of his present but also of events that already happened thousands of years ago.The word anthropology is derived from two Greek words: anthropos meaning "man" or "human"; and logos, meaning "thought" or "reason." Anthropologists attempt, by investigating the whole range of human development and behavior, to achieve a total description of cultural and social phenomena.

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The science of anthropology is divided into two major disciplines, physical anthropology and cultural anthropology.

Archaeology and other human sciences use radiocarbon dating to prove or disprove theories.

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