Why is archaeological dating important

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Indeed, carbon 14 (14C) is formed from the reaction caused by cosmic rays that convert nitrogen into carbon 14 and then carbon dioxide by combining with carbon 12 (12C) and carbon 13 (13C ), which are stable carbon isotopes.Following the death of an organism, any exchange ceases and the carbon 14, which is radioactive and therefore unstable, slowly begins to disintegrate at a known rate (half-life of 5730 years, ie, after this period only half of the total carbon 14 present at the time of death remains).Indeed, some items whose exact or approximate age is known are called "diagnostic artifacts." Examples of such objects include very specific stone tools, different pottery styles, objects that belong to a specific period (eg, the historic period or the French regime), coins with a production date, or other items bearing a trademark and whose history can be traced in historical records.Their presence on archaeological sites is used to date the soil layers and the objects and events they are associated with and thus contributes to refine the chronology of sites.This method is primarily applied to projectile points and ceramic vessels.These present many characteristics that are used for comparing them, such as morphology and raw materials in the case of stone tools, and decorative techniques and motifs in the case of ceramics.Dendrochronology Dendrochronology is a method that studies the rings of tree trunks to define characteristic sequences by analyzing the morphology of growth rings for a given species.

Moreover, stratigraphic dating is sometimes based on the objects that are found within the soil strata.However, this method is sometimes limited because the reoccupation of an area may require excavation to establish the foundation of a building, for instance, that goes through older layers.In this case, even if the foundation of the building is found in the same stratigraphic level as the previous occupation, the two events are not contemporary.On the other hand, absolute dating includes all methods that provide figures about the real estimated age of archaeological objects or occupations.These methods usually analyze physicochemical transformation phenomena whose rate are known or can be estimated relatively well.

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