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When museums and collectors purchase archaeological items for their collections they enter an expensive and potentially deceptive commercial fine arts arena.
Healthy profits are to be made from illicitly plundered ancient sites or selling skillfully made forgeries.
Archaeology dating techniques can assure buyers that their item is not a fake by providing scientific reassurance of the artefact's likely age.
Archaeological scientists have two primary ways of telling the age of artefacts and the sites from which they came: relative dating and absolute dating.
On the other hand, absolute dating includes all methods that provide figures about the real estimated age of archaeological objects or occupations.
These methods usually analyze physicochemical transformation phenomena whose rate are known or can be estimated relatively well.
The underlying principle of stratigraphic analysis in archaeology is that of superposition.
This term means that older artefacts are usually found below younger items.
The first method was based on radioactive elements whose property of decay occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life of the isotope.
Relative dating in archaeology presumes the age of an artefact in relation and by comparison, to other objects found in its vicinity.
Limits to relative dating are that it cannot provide an accurate year or a specific date of use.
b) Absolute These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.
This method includes carbon dating and thermoluminescence.