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8: Dating Methods and Artifact Analysis

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    Learning Objectives

    • Compare and contrast relative and absolute dating techniques.
    • Describe several dating techniques, including when and where each would likely be used and their limitations.
    • Explain the principle of radioactive decay and how radiometric dating techniques use it to determine the absolute age of archaeological evidence.
    • Describe the role of an artifact typology in archaeological analysis.
    • Characterize the most common artifact types and how archaeologists study them.
    • Explain the role of trace analysis in archaeology.

    • 8.1: Dating Methods
      After excavating a site, one of the first questions to answer relates to time. Much of the meaning that can be inferred from a site comes from the context—when the site was used and when the various artifacts collected were made, used, and left behind. It is a straightforward question to ask, but one that has long been difficult to answer.
    • 8.2: Artifact Analysis
      The artifacts made and used by humans are critical to archaeological work and analysis of past human behavior. Their interpretation and the information they provide largely depends on the environmental conditions to which the artifacts have been exposed, which influences their preservation.
    • 8.3: Chapter Eight Review
      Review important concepts and definitions of key terms.

    Image: Printing the Past: 3-D archaeology and the first Americans. (2016). By Bureau of Land Management under CC BY via flickr.

    8: Dating Methods and Artifact Analysis is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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