(View exact match)cross-datingSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: cross dating
DEFINITION: A correlation dating technique that can yield a relative or absolute age or chronology. The basis of cross-dating is the occurrence of finds in association. The assumption is that a particular type of artifact, for example a type of sword, when found in an undated context will bear a similar date to one found in a dated context, thus enabling the whole of the undated context to be given a chronological value. The method is based on the assumption that typologies evolved at the same rate and in the same way over a wide area or alternatively on assumptions of diffusion. Many of the chronologies constructed before the advent of chronometric dating techniques were based on cross-dating. New techniques such as radiocarbon dating showed some of the links established by cross-dating to be invalid, so the method has become somewhat discredited. However, its use is still helpful where recognizable products of dateable manufacture are found in undated contexts with no possibility of using a chronometric dating technique. So in the absence of geochronology, two cultural groups can only be proved contemporary by the discovery of links between them. If in culture A an object produced by culture B is found, A must be contemporary with, or later than, B. The term cross-dating ought strictly to be used only when an object of culture A is also found in proved association with culture B, when overlap of at least part of the time span of each is proved. Items having an established date, such as dated coins or buildings, or ceramics of known manufacture are most often used. By itself, a cross-dated chronology does not give absolute dates, but it may be calibrated by reference to other dating methods. A type of cross-dating has always been used in geology and stratigraphical sequences are often correlated by the assemblages of fossils they contain; this is known as biostratigraphy. The archaeological versions of cross-dating may have been developed directly out of the geological method and may have been based on a false analogy between biological fossils and archaeological artifacts.
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Evans, Sir Arthur (1851-1941)CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: A British scholar and archaeologist who contributed much to the study of Greek archaeology with his excavations at the Minoan palace of Knossos. His first interest was in coins and hieroglyphic seals, and it was the latter which drew his attention to Crete. He began excavations at Knossos in 1899 at his own expense, and in the next 35 years laid bare not only this Bronze Age palace of the Minoans, but in effect their whole civilization. Careful cross-dating with Egypt allowed him to put dates to his sequence, making it a vitally important link in the dating of prehistoric Europe before the discovery of radiocarbon. Though he was unable to decipher the Minoans' three written scripts, his detailed study of them gave the necessary basis for later work, culminating in the reading of Linear B by Michael Ventris in 1952. He was largely responsible for demonstrating the existence of a pre-Mycenaean Aegean civilization, for naming it Minoan (after the legendary King Minos of Crete), and for revealing most of its characteristics. He was the son of Sir John Evans.Montelius, Oscar (1843-1921)SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Gustav Oscar Augustin Montelius
DEFINITION: Swedish archaeologist who constructed a chronology for prehistoric Europe and who developed typological schemes for the European Neolithic and Bronze Age. He divided European prehistory into numbered periods (four for the Neolithic, five for the Bronze Age) and to these periods he gave absolute dates by extending cross-dating from Egypt across Europe. Montelius believed in the diffusionist view (called ex oriente lux) that all European culture in later prehistoric times was derived from the ancient civilizations of Egypt and the Near East. Still controversial is his theory, the Swedish typology suggesting that material culture and biological life develop through essentially the same kind of evolutionary process. He published "Om tidsbestämming inom ronsåldern" (1885; "On Determining the Periods Within the Bronze Age") "The Civilization of Sweden in Heathen Times" (1888) and "Die älteren Kulturperioden in Orient und in Europa" (1903-23; "The Older Cultural Periods in the Orient and Europe").Pendlebury, J.D.S. (1904-1941)CATEGORY: person
DEFINITION: An archaeologist who worked in Egypt, notably on the site of Tell el-Amarna, and then moved to the Aegean, attracted by the ancient Egyptian imports to that region, which are vitally important for cross-dating. His most famous book, "The Archaeology of Crete" was published in 1939. Pendlebury also wrote "Tell el-Amarna" (1935) a summary up to that date.associationSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: associated (adj.)
CATEGORY: term; technique
DEFINITION: The co-occurrence of two or more objects sharing the same general location and stratigraphic level and that are thought to have been deposited at approximately the same time (being in or on the same matrix). Objects are said to be in association with each other when they are found together in a context which suggests simultaneous deposition. Associations between objects are the basis for relative dating or chronology and the concept of cross-dating as well as in interpretation - cultural connections, original function, etc. Pottery and flint tools associated in a closed context would be grounds for linking them into an assemblage, possibly making the full material culture of a group available. The association of undated objects with artifacts of known date allows the one to be dated by the other. When two or more objects are found together and it can be proved that they were deposited together, they are said to be in genuine or closed association. Examples of closed associations are those within a single interment grave, the material within a destruction level, or a hoard. An open association is one in which this can only be assumed, not proved. Artifacts may be found next to each other and still not be associated; one of the artifacts may be intrusive.chronologyCATEGORY: chronology; technique
DEFINITION: Any method used to order time and to place events in the sequence in which they occurred. A sequential ordering that places cultural entities in temporal, and often spatial, distribution. It involves the collection of dates or successive datings establishing the position in time of a series of phenomena such as the phases of a civilization or the events of the history of a state. A chronology is relative/floating when only the order of a succession of facts is known, but not their dates, and absolute when the opposite is true. For periods or areas for which no textual evidence is available, relative chronologies have to be established and these are mostly based on pottery sequences and typology. Relative chronology is also based on the application of the principles of stratigraphy and cross-dating. The discovery of inscribed monuments and calendars associated with dated astronomical observations contributed to the development of an Egyptian chronology and it has served as a framework - through cross-dating - for all other Near Eastern chronologies. Inscribed Egyptian objects found in Near Eastern contexts have allowed the latter to be dated. Absolute chronology is based on scientific methods such as radiocarbon dating, thermoluminescence dating, and archaeomagnetism. Dates are often calibrated with dendrochronological dates. For dates after 1500 BC, an absolute chronology is not likely to change by more than ten years.correlationCATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The use of various methods, often multiple methods, to demonstrate the equivalency of stratigraphic units. This term refers to the relation of one stratigraphical unit to another, by petrological, osteological, lithographic, cultural, chronological, or palaeontological means. For example, stratigraphic units may be correlated using palaeontological criteria, absolute dating methods, relative dating methods, cross-dating methods, and position relative to the glacial-interglacial cycle by examining physical and biological attributes. Correlation of fossil inclusions is a principle of stratigraphy: that strata may be correlated based on the sequence and uniqueness of their floral and faunal content.datingSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chronology
DEFINITION: The process by which an archaeologist determines dates for objects, deposits, buildings, etc., in an attempt to situate a given phenomenon in time. Relative dating, in which the order of certain events is determined, must be distinguished from absolute dating, in which figures in solar years (often with some necessary margin of error) can be applied to a particular event. Unless tied to historical records, dating by archaeological methods can only be relative - such as stratigraphy, typology, cross-dating, and sequence dating. Absolute dating, with some reservation, is provided by dendrochronology, varve dating, thermoluminescence, potassium-argon dating, and, most important presently, radiocarbon dating. Some relative dating can be calibrated by these or by historical methods to give a close approximation to absolute dates - archaeomagnetism, obsidian hydration dating, and pollen analysis. Still others remain strictly relative - collagen content, fluorine and nitrogen test, and radiometric assay. Other methods include: coin dating, seriation, and amino-acid racemization. The methods have varying applications, accuracy, range, and cost. Many new techniques are being developed and tested.index fossilSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: index fossil concept; index species
CATEGORY: artifact; technique
DEFINITION: A fossil with widespread geographical range but which is restricted in time to a brief existence. In archaeology, it is a theory that proposes that strata containing similar fossil assemblages will tend to be of similar age. This concept enables archaeologists to characterize and date strata within archaeological sites using diagnostic artifact forms, making an animal species the basis for dating by faunal association. Artifacts that share the attributes of index fossils are useful in the cross-dating and correlation of deposits that contain them and in the construction of chronologies.sequence datingCATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method developed by Sir Flinders Petrie (for Egyptian predynastic cemeteries) for dating a group of similar objects according to their archaeological sequence. By studying the typology the changing forms of certain artifacts, they may be set into sequence. Petrie used it to arrange undated graves into a hypothetical (relative) chronological order according to the typology and association of the artifacts found in them (based on a stylistic seriation of Egyptian pre-dynastic tomb pottery). Artifacts found at other sites were then correlated with the sequence and given a sequence date. The technique can only be used to determine whether one type of artifact is earlier or later than another; it cannot show length of time between two. This type of seriation, when combined with cross-dating, is still useful in the absence of other dating methods.type fossilSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: fossil directeur
DEFINITION: A tool characteristic of a particular archaeological era a dated concept borrowed from geology. A particular artifact form used to define a specific period or culture such as an Acheulian handax; a specific artifact which serves to represent the taxon of which it is a member. Such an artifact would have a wide distribution in space but a restricted one in time. Its value is for correlating cultural sequences over large areas as in cross-dating. In archaeology the time taken for a type to spread by diffusion must be allowed for and if possible calculated from outside evidence.