This is the only type of techniques that can help clarifying the actual age of an object.

Absolute dating methods mainly include radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology and thermoluminescence.

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Finally, absolute dating is obtained by synchronizing the average sequences with series of live (and thus datable) trees and thus anchors the tree-ring chronology in time.

Dendrochronology mainly uses softwood species that are sensitive to changes in growth conditions, while hardwoods show rather little variation in ring width.

Indeed, carbon 14 (14C) is formed from the reaction caused by cosmic rays that convert nitrogen into carbon 14 and then carbon dioxide by combining with carbon 12 (12C) and carbon 13 (13C ), which are stable carbon isotopes.

Following the death of an organism, any exchange ceases and the carbon 14, which is radioactive and therefore unstable, slowly begins to disintegrate at a known rate (half-life of 5730 years, ie, after this period only half of the total carbon 14 present at the time of death remains).

There are two main categories of dating methods in archaeology: indirect or relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating includes methods that rely on the analysis of comparative data or the context (eg, geological, regional, cultural) in which the object one wishes to date is found.

However, this method is sometimes limited because the reoccupation of an area may require excavation to establish the foundation of a building, for instance, that goes through older layers.

In this case, even if the foundation of the building is found in the same stratigraphic level as the previous occupation, the two events are not contemporary.

Stratigraphic dating remains very reliable when it comes to dating objects or events in undisturbed stratigraphic levels.

For example, the oldest human remains known to date in Canada, found at Gore Creek, have been dated using soil stratification.

Subsequently, the calibration of that date provides a time interval where the event or object being dated can be situated (eg, 1275-1425 AD).