Methods of chronometric dating
This is both a compelling and an essential reference for those scholars who wish to understand current procedures and problems, and future prospects in science-based archaeological chronology. The volumes in this series are published in cooperation with the Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS), an organization of natural scientists and professional archaeologists. Taylor is the author of numerous scientific papers and monographs, including (1987) and was coeditor with A. Holding a doctoral degree in nuclear physics, his principle areas of research were in magnetic prospection, archaeomagnetism, and luminescence dating.
Chronometric Dating in Archaeology is the second volume in a new series initiated by Plenum Press entitled "Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science," and takes its place beside the initial volume in the series, , edited by George Rapp, Jr. The society's members come from diverse disciplines but share the common belief that natural science techniques and methods constitute an essential component of both archaeological field and laboratory studies. In 1983 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Taylor's name has become synonymous with the evolution and refinement of methods in radiocarbon dating, while Aitkin is celebrated as one of the leading international authorities on luminescence techniques and the chronologies of ancient climates.
The individual presentations, in the main, follow a chronological progression, beginning with those techniques developed earliest and concluding with those more recently developed.
The first contribution is on "Climatostratigraphy" and considers varve analysis and marine sediment and ice core studies used to discern past climatic history and chronology.
Basic textbooks on archaeological method and theory relate that there are two methods of establishing chronology: 1) methods of relative dating (ascertaining the correct order of the events) and 2) absolute or chronometric dating (quantifying the measurement of time in terms of years or other fixed units).
Relative dating may be derived from sequence dating through seriation (changes in artifact form, function, or style through time), by stratigraphic analysis (geological stratigraphy based upon the "Law of Superposition"), and by cross dating.
Chronometric dating can rely upon: 1) historic or written records, 2) non-radiometric scientific studies (such as tree ring, thermoluminescence, or obsidian hydration dating techniques), 3) radiometric analyses (radiocarbon and potassium-argon dating, for example, which rely upon the decay of unstable parent isotopes into stable daughter forms), and 4) biochemical analyses (notably by amino acid dating or isoleucine racemization). (Erv) Taylor is currently Professor of Anthropology and a Research Anthropologist in the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, but also serves as the Director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the University of California at Riverside.
Each chapter assesses a basic archaeometric technique and each has separate references--a total of 1,307 entries--so that every contribution stands by itself as a very useful synthesis.The book may certainly be regarded as a highly technical compendium, an essential reference work that should be acquired by any library and is mandatory for advanced students, and practitioners.