Relative dating archaeology definition
As an example Pinnacle Point's caves, in the southern coast of South Africa, provided evidence that marine resources (shellfish) have been regularly exploited by humans as of 170,000 years ago.
On the other hand, remains as recent as a hundred years old can also be the target of archaeological dating methods.
Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.
Many of these organisms have left their remains as fossils in sedimentary rocks.
For example, in a stratum presenting difficulties or ambiguities to absolute dating, paleopalynology can be used as a relative referent by means of the study of the pollens found in the stratum.
This is admitted because of the simple reason that some botanical species, whether extinct or not, are well known as belonging to a determined position in the scale of time.
Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks.
Nevertheless, the range of time within archaeological dating can be enormous compared to the average lifespan of a singular human being.
Geologists have studied the order in which fossils appeared and disappeared through time and rocks. Fossils can help to match rocks of the same age, even when you find those rocks a long way apart.
This matching process is called correlation, which has been an important process in constructing geological timescales.
Different species of ammonites lived at different times within the Mesozoic, so identifying a fossil species can help narrow down when a rock was formed.
Correlation can involve matching an undated rock with a dated one at another location.