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Uranium series dating: U-series dating includes a number of methods, each based on different uranium isotopes’ decay rates.
The uranium-thorium method is often helpful for dating finds in the 40,000- to 500,000-year-old range, too old for radiocarbon but too young for K-Ar or Ar-Ar.
Says Shea: “Beyond 40,000 years old, the sample is so small, and the contamination risk so great, that the margin of error is thousands of years.
Researchers can first apply an absolute dating method to the layer.
The polarity is recorded by the orientation of magnetic crystals in specific kinds of rock, and researchers have established a timeline of normal and reversed periods of polarity.
Paleomagnetism is often used as a rough check of results from another dating method.
They then use that absolute date to establish a relative age for fossils and artifacts in relation to that layer. Anything below the Taupo tephra is earlier than 232; anything above it is later.
For example, New Zealand’s massive Taupo volcano erupted in A. Relative chronology: Researchers have often constructed timelines of a culture or civilization based on the stylistic evolution of its decorative or dramatic arts — that’s why the method is also sometimes called stylistic seriation.