It is clear then that absolute dating is based upon physical and chemical properties of artifacts that provide a clue regarding the true age.
This is possible because properties of rock formations are closely associated with the age of the artifacts found trapped within them.
Though using similar methods, these two techniques differ in certain ways that will be discussed in this article.
As the name implies, relative dating can tell which of the two artifacts is older.
• Absolute dating techniques can tell the exact age of an artifact by employing various techniques, the most popular being C-14 dating.
However, archeologists still require further information to find out the items that are oldest and those that are youngest in the order.
It is left for absolute dating to come up with the precise age of an artifact.
A layer that is higher is of later age than a layer that is lower in order.
This means that the oldest are the strata that are lying at the bottom.
However, age of deposition does not mean the age of artifacts found in that layer.
Artifacts found in a layer can be compared with other items found in layers of similar age and placed in order.
This is a method that does not find the age in years but is an effective technique to compare the ages of two or more artifacts, rocks or even sites.
It implies that relative dating cannot say conclusively about the true age of an artifact.
Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.
With time, it became apparent that this classification scheme was much too simple.