Dating methodology

Radiocarbon dating was the first method that allowed archaeologists to place what they found in chronological order without the need for written records or coins.

In the 19th and early 20th century incredibly patient and careful archaeologists would link pottery and stone tools in different geographical areas by similarities in shape and patterning.

more Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50,000 years.

Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in 1949 and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.

The uncalibrated date is given with the unit BP (radiocarbon years before 1950).

The calibrated date is also presented, either in BC or AD or with the unit cal BP (calibrated before present - before 1950).

These new techniques can have a dramatic effect on chronologies.Then, by using the idea that the styles of objects evolve, becoming increasing elaborate over time, they could place them in order relative to each other - a technique called seriation.In this way large domed tombs (known as tholos or beehive tombs) in Greece were thought to predate similar structures in the Scottish Island of Maeshowe.This means that although they are very similar chemically, they have different masses.The total mass of the isotope is indicated by the numerical superscript.

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