Seriation stratigraphy and index fossils the backbone of archaeological dating

Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.

Seriation, also called artifact sequencing, is an early scientific method of relative dating, invented (most likely) by the Egyptologist Sir William Flinders Petrie in the late 19th century.

seriation stratigraphy and index fossils the backbone of archaeological dating-9

In Europe, it has been used frequently to reconstruct the chronological sequence of graves in a cemetery (e.g.

Jørgensen 1992; Two different variants of seriation have been applied: contextual seriation and frequency seriation (Renfrew and Bahn 1996, pp. Whereas contextual seriation is based on the presence or absence of a design style, frequency seriation relies on measuring the proportional abundance or frequency of a design style.

In archaeology, seriation is a relative dating method in which assemblages or artifacts from numerous sites, in the same culture, are placed in chronological order.

Where absolute dating methods, such as carbon dating, cannot be applied, archaeologists have to use relative dating methods to date archaeological finds and features.

En los últimos 150 años ellos no han encontrado ningún fósil que no hubiera sido previsto o esperado por Darwin.

Los nuevos descubrimientos han llenado los vacíos y nos han mostrado, en un nivel de detalle casi inimaginable, la forma del gran “árbol de la vida.” Darwin y sus contemporáneos nunca se hubieran podido imaginar los avances en la resolución de la estratigrafía que se han logrado desde 1859, ni tampoco se hubieran podido imaginar cuales fósiles se iban a encontrar en los continentes del Sur ni predecir el aumento enorme en el número de paleontólogos, tanto amateur como profesionales, en todo el mundo.

Absolute chronology dates events in terms of the generally accepted calendar; relative chronology determines only the sequence of events.

Relative dates are established by stratigraphy and by the typological method.

Nuestra comprensión sobre la forma y el patrón de la historia de la vida depende de la exactitud de los fósiles y de los métodos de medición de su edad.

Algunos críticos, particularmente los fundamentalistas religiosos, argumentan que ni los fósiles ni las mediciones de su edad pueden ser confiadas y que sus propias interpretaciones son mejores.

Petrie's problem was that he had discovered several predynastic cemeteries along the Nile River in Egypt that seemed to be from the same period, but he needed a way to put them in chronological order.


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