New methods of dating archaeology

With the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptologists had access to such an absolute timescale, and the age, in calender years, of the Egyptian dynasties could be established.

Pollen analysis, or palynology, involves the microscopic examination of fossil pollen grains in stratified peat and lake deposits.From this, scientists can establish pollen diagrams (describing the relative abundance of different pollen-producing plants at a given point in time) and floral time charts (showing how climate and flora changed over time).The principle of stratigraphic dating is used to establish the relative age of these floral and fossil assemblages.Other techniques are occasionally useful, for example, historical or iconographic references to datable astronomical events such as solar eclipses (archaeoastronomy).When archaeologists have access to the historical records of civilizations that had calendars and counted and recorded the passage of years, the actual age of the archaeological material may be ascertained—provided there is some basis for correlating our modern calendar with the ancient calendar.

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