Advantages of absolute dating techniques in archaeology

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These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.

Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.

Because of their unique decay rates, different elements are used for dating different age ranges.

For example, the decay of potassium-40 to argon-40 is used to date rocks older than 20,000 years, and the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 is used for rocks older than 1 million years.

Chronology of rock art, ranging from Paleolithic to present times, is a key aspect of the archaeology of art and one of the most controversial.

It was based for decades in nonscientific methods that used stylistic analysis of imagery to establish one-way evolutionary schemes.

Dating is a technique used in archeology to ascertain the age of artifacts, fossils and other items considered to be valuable by archeologists.

Application of scientific methods, also called absolute dating, started to be used in the 1980s and since then has increased more and more its significance, as judged by the large number of papers published in the last two decades on this subject (Rowe Absolute and relative dating methods have been used to establish tentative chronologies for rock art.

Relative dating refers to non-chronometric methodologies that produce seriation based on stylistic comparison and stratigraphic assumptions.

However, there are radiometric dating methods that can be used on sedimentary rock, including luminescence dating.

All radiometric dating methods measure isotopes in some way.

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