Dating of archaeological sites
For a long period in the 20th century Egyptian and Near Eastern chronology seemed to be the earliest of absolute chronologies, and imports from these areas were used to reconstruct the chronology of European prehistory.With the introduction of objective quantifiable methods such as dendrochronology and Carbon-14 dating, over the past half century, European and North American archaeology have developed independent and more reliable chronologies, that often make it possible to date more precisely than in Egypt. For Egypt absolute year dates can only be established back to the beginning of the Late Period, from links to Greek chronology, and then from Assyrian king-lists and other Near Eastern sources, back to the Ramesside Period (still debated). The Egyptians dated by the year of reign of the king on the throne (for example 'year 3 of king X').The half-life of C is approximately 5730 years, which is too short for this method to be used to date material millions of years old.The isotope of Potassium-40, which has a half-life of 1.25 Billion years, can be used for such long measurements.Today, many different radioactive elements have been used, but the most famous absolute dating method is radiocarbon dating, which uses the isotope C.This isotope, which can be found in organic materials and can be used only to date organic materials, has been incorrectly used by many to make dating assumptions for non-organic material such as stone buildings.If we knew the precise length of reign for every Egyptian king, chronology would be no problem.
Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms. In academic, historical, and archaeological circles, A. Dates are determined by a variety of processes, including chemical analyses (as in radiocarbon dating and thermoluminescence), data correlation (as in dendrochronology), and a variety of other tests. Acheulean - A stone tool industry, in use from about 1.6 million years ago until 125,000 years ago.