Archaeology has to be one of the coolest research fields in the entire world. People who qualify as archeologists are tasked with heading to sights and doing the research necessary to find out more about how other cultures or prehistoric animals lived. The question you might be wondering, whether you want to get into archeology or you are simply interested in the subject, is just what techniques are actually used by archeologists to make sure that they understand just how old their discoveries are. The good news is that this dedicated guide has been created to give you a complete overview when it comes to archaeological techniques. Read on now in order to get a full understanding.
You might think that archeology primarily involves people standing out in a field and digging for clues. While this is a major part of it, there is also a lot of lab work involved. One of the best tools that an archaeologist has in their field is using an x-ray machine that can minutely analyze the particles found on a particular discovery to figure out just how old they are. One of the companies leading the way when it comes to providing the necessary technology for this is Malvern Panalytical.
Another amazing technique that archaeologists can use to figure out how old something is, for example, our ancestors, especially when dealing with finds that are thousands of years old, is through radiocarbon dating. Basically put, they look for a weakly radioactive isotope named carbon 14, which emits a certain amount of decay after it dies. By using techniques such as gas proportional counting, accelerator mass spectrometry, or liquid scintillation counting, archeologists can then figure out the age of the samples that they are given.
When figuring out the age of a site, advanced scientific methods are not the only way to determine the age of an object. There is also the process of relative dating. For example, due to the way that the layers of objects are covered by the ground, you can more or less guess the age of something by how far deep it goes. Additionally, you can look at the objects themselves in order to gain more information about the era. For example, if you uncover a pot with Roman letterings, then it is probably safe to assume that it is from the Roman era.
Potassium Argon Dating
Radiocarbon dating isn’t the only scientific technique that archaeologists have at their disposal when it comes to figuring out the age of a particular object. They can also use the power of potassium argon dating which, generally speaking, is more useful when figuring out the age of objects that are hundreds of thousands or even millions of years old. This could be a technique that they use when they figure out that radiocarbon dating cannot actually give them an accurate enough reading of the particular age of an object.