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In archaeology, absolute dating is usually based on the physical, chemical, and life properties of the materials of artifacts, buildings, or other items that have been modified by humans and by historical associations with materials with known dates (coins and written history).
Techniques include tree rings in timbers, radiocarbon dating of wood or bones, and trapped-charge dating methods such as thermoluminescence dating of glazed ceramics.
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Constructed by Lori Martinez, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
Matching the pattern in trees whose age is known to the pattern in wood found at an archaeological site can establish the age at which the wood was cut and thus the approximate date of the site.
By comparing living trees with old lumber and finding overlapping ring patterns, scientists have established chronological records for some species that go back as far as 9,000 years.
Analyzing the pattern of a tree's rings provides information about the environmental changes that took place during the period in which it was growing.
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