Archaeological dating methods

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Each week a number of students will present a seminar on specific chronological issues which will be followed by a discussion. Typically, the syllabus will include the following: • Is there an accurate date for the Tabun C1 Neanderthal? • Was the extinction of the Australian Megafauna caused by the arrival of humans? • Can dating demonstrate the extinction of Neanderthals in Europe was caused by the influx of modern humans? In archaeological terminology, there are two categories of dating methods: absolute and relative.

These include an outline of radioactive processes, the measurement of radioactivity, dealing with errors, accuracy and precision. As well as covering radiocarbon dating, the module covers most of the dating methods of relevance to archaeology from dendrochronology of historical wood back to K/Ar dating of early hominines. The scientific basis of each technique will be covered, but the main focus will be on the application of the dating methods to archaeology through examination of case studies. On rare occasion, archaeological deposits can accumulate up against a petroglyph panel, concealing part or all of the art.In that case, it may be possible to discern a minimum age for the art because its creation had to precede the archaeological deposit covering it.

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