Dating methods in archaeology establish the time and sequence of events that created archaeological deposits and layers, called strata, within those deposits. Absolute dating relies on biological, chemical (radiometric), geological/electromagnetic, or historical investigation to obtain the date range of a deposit.

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Dating the age of rocks is critical to reconstructing Earth's history.

Geologists rely on two basic types of dating: absolute dating and relative dating.

Absolute dating establishes how many years ago a given event took place.

The most important methods of absolute dating are based on the decay of naturally occurring radioactive elements.

Relative dating places historical events in their correct order but does not yield numerical estimates of how many years ago the events happened.

It may seem odd that the two procedures are kept distinct—if scientists can determine the numerical ages of rocks and fossils they should be able to put the evidence of ancient life in the correct historical order.The problem is that only some types of rocks and fossils can be numerically dated, so all other evidence of ancient life must be related to age-dated material by the techniques of relative dating.In social sciences there are many key concepts and terms that are crucial for students to know and understand.Often it can be hard to determine what the most important social sciences concepts and terms are, and even once you’ve identified them you still need to understand what they mean.To help you learn and understand key social sciences terms and concepts, we’ve identified some of the most important ones and provided detailed definitions for them, written and compiled by Chegg experts.Relative dating technique using comparison of fossils from different stratagraphic sequences to estimate which layers are older and which are younger; employed in the Early Pleistocene deposits at Olduvai and other African sitesfossil that portrays its time period best and can be used to relate other fossils to that time period; fossils remains of known age, used to estimate the age of the geological stratum in which they are found.