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Sometimes only one method is possible, reducing the confidence researchers have in the results. “They’re based on ‘it’s that old because I say so,’ a popular approach by some of my older colleagues,” says Shea, laughing, “though I find I like it myself as I get more gray hair.” Kidding aside, dating a find is crucial for understanding its significance and relation to other fossils or artifacts.
Methods fall into one of two categories: relative or absolute.
Forgers commonly use the bottom of an original broken vessel, which has no commercial value, and make a new fake vessel on top of it. Unfortunately there are no affordable direct methods for dating pigments, except in some cases as we will see later.Generally, for example, we can’t establish when a vermilion stroke was brushed onto a painting, but we can date most of the materials that the pigments are painted on.Radiocarbon WEB-info Provides a large international listing of laboratories that do radiocarbon dating; information on radiocarbon dating; publications and references; and educational materials. The Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), gives no endorsements for any products, materials or services mentioned in this pamphlet and is not responsible for problems from their use or misuse.
A dating method that measures the amount of light released when an object is heated.
Before this, archaeologists and scientists relied on deductive dating methods, such as comparing rock strata formations in different regions.