Spot dating archaeology
A new way of dating quartz could help archaeologists better date objects from a key period in history when modern humans first roamed the Earth, according to U. Professor Jonathon Ericson from the University of California, Irvine and colleagues from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt published details in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. The technique is most accurate when dating objects between 50,000 to 100,0000 years old, the researchers said.
By winter, when the sap finally stops flowing, a smooth dark ring marks the end of the tree’s annual growth.In cases of forgeries, even a large margin of error would be sufficient to spot fakes, the researchers said.Australian archaeologist Dr Alan Watchman from the Australian National University in Canberra was concerned with the large error margin.Quartz is extremely common at archaeological sites and is used in tools and well as statues, bowls and ceramics.The new technique is similar to one currently used to date obsidian, a type of volcanic glass.And an archaeological context does not only refer to a geographical place, it can also be an event in time which has been preserved in the archaeological record.
Multiple fills of soil in a ditch, for example, could imply multiple contexts.
By counting the dark ring segments, scientists can tell a tree’s age if the cross section of the trunk is complete. Based at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Douglass wanted to know how sun spot activity affected climate, and his research soon led him to pioneering tree-ring analysis.
Because the width of tree rings varies with growing conditions, scientists also learn about local climate during the tree’s lifetime by comparing the rings’ different widths. For instance, higher rainfall and a longer growing season produces a wider ring than a year with low rainfall and prolonged cold. Douglass was among the first to notice that trees in a geographic area develop the same growth-ring patterns because they experience the same climatic conditions.
Their beauty, rarity, and history unlock the secrets of their ancient owners.
In archaeology it is not only the physical location of a discovery that holds significance, but the context (or setting) as well.
By separating a site into basic, discrete units, archaeologists are able to create a chronology for activity on a site and not only describe it, but allow for its interpretation as well.