What is relative dating in archaeology
In 1901, Douglass began investigating tree ring growth as an indicator of solar cycles.
Douglass believed that solar flares affected climate, and hence the amount of growth a tree might gain in a given year.
For more information on stratigraphy and how it is used in archaeology, see the Stratigraphy glossary entry.
Plotting several curves can allow the archaeologist to develop a relative chronology for an entire site or group of sites.
For detailed information about how seriation works, see Seriation: A Step by Step Description.
Absolute dating to determine the actual age of an object or stratigraphic layer, and relative dating to tie associated artifacts and layers into the sequence provided by the absolute dates.
Archaeologists use many different techniques to determine the age of a particular artifact, site, or part of a site.
Clark Wissler, an anthropologist researching Native American groups in the Southwest, recognized the potential for such dating, and brought Douglass subfossil wood from puebloan ruins.