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In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.
Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations.When it comes to dating archaeological samples, several timescale problems arise.For example, Christian time counts the birth of Christ as the beginning, AD 1 (Anno Domini); everything that occurred before Christ is counted backwards from AD as BC (Before Christ).The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.The Muslims count the Prophet’s departure from Mecca, or the Hegira, as their beginning at AD 662.The Mayan calendar used 3114 BC as their reference.
More recently is the radiocarbon date of 1950 AD or before present, BP.
There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.
Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else.
Absolute dating represents the absolute age of the sample before the present.
Historical documents and calendars can be used to find such absolute dates; however, when working in a site without such documents, it is hard for absolute dates to be determined.
As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.