QUESTION: What is the difference between relative and absolute dating techniques?
ANSWER: In relative dating, something is determined to be older or younger than something else without determining an exact age.
For example, JJA Worsaae used this law to prove the Three Age System.
For more information on stratigraphy and how it is used in archaeology, see the Stratigraphy glossary entry.
These artifacts can be placed in order, but requires external information to determine which end of the series is younger or older.
However, the stratigraphic position alone cannot tell us the exact date.
Without the ability to date archaeological sites and specific contexts within them, archaeologists would be unable to study cultural change and continuity over time.
No wonder, then, that so much effort has been devoted to developing increasingly sophisticated and precise methods for determining when events happened in the past.
Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.
Stratigraphy is based on the law of superposition--like a layer cake, the lowest layers must have been formed first.
Age of deposition should not be confused with the date of material enclosed in deposit.