Dating archaeological artifacts

06 Jul

He assumed that the change in styles was an evolutionary one, and, if you could quantify that change, he surmised it might be used to indicate which cemeteries were older than others.Petrie's notions about Egyptology, and archaeology in general, were revolutionary.“But we now have the ability to date incredibly small amounts of carbon – 40-100 millionths of a gram – and that is the real revolutionary aspect of this.And the ancillary part of that is it’s non-destructive.”That’s important to Nancy Akins, a research associate with the Office of Archaeological Studies, who in February was having a bison tooth and sheep bone tested by “Marvin’s Machine.” The items were excavated from the site of a rock shelter in Coyote Canyon north of Mora.“It could be 500 years old or it could be 5,000 years old,” she said of the bison tooth, the result allowing her to complete her report of the site that she’s determined to have been used by humans as a hunting outpost starting 1,700 years ago.“I’m just waiting on the dates, because it’ll change everything if we get dates where I can actually say, ‘OK, that’s what the sheep bones date to and that’s what the bison dates to.’ It tells us an awful lot about how they were using the land on the east side of the Sangre de Cristos.”Because a lot of that part of New Mexico is private property or under land grants, such finds as the one in Coyote Canyon are rare, she said.“Unless there’s a road or something, we don’t have any information at all.

Thus, 1587 is the post quem dating of Shakespeare's play Henry V.

Absolute dating techniques were not available to him (radiocarbon dating wasn't invented until the 1940s); and since they were separately excavated graves, stratigraphy was no use either.

Petrie knew that styles of pottery seemed to come and go over time--in his case, he noted that some ceramic urns from the graves had handles and others had just stylized ridges in the same location on similarly shaped urns.

That means that the play was without fail written after (in Latin, post) 1587.

The same inductive mechanism is applied in archaeology, geology and paleontology, by many ways.