Archeaology dating a find

Ancient Egypt's population was compressed in the narrow confines of the Nile Valley with a tree cover, we assumed, that was sparse compared to less arid lands.

We expected that by the pyramid age the Egyptians had been intensively exploiting wood for fuel for a long time and that old trees had been harvested long before.

Then, only exceptionally well-preserved, pristine samples can provide reliable dates.

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Archaeologists believe it is the work of the Old Kingdom Dynasty 4 society that rose to prominence in the Nile Valley from ca. In dealing with the 374-year discrepancy, we had to consider the old wood problem.

In 1984 we thought it was unlikely that the pyramid builders consistently used centuries-old Egyptian wood as fuel in preparing mortar.

Based on a discipline of geology called stratigraphy, rock layers are used to decipher the sequence of historical geological events.

Relative techniques can determine the sequence of events but not the precise date of an event, making these methods unreliable.

There are two main categories of dating methods in archaeology: indirect or relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating includes methods that rely on the analysis of comparative data or the context (eg, geological, regional, cultural) in which the object one wishes to date is found.An archaeologist’s staple is radiocarbon dating: judging the age of an organic sample from its carbon-14 – also known as radiocarbon – content.Around 99% of carbon on earth is carbon-12 – atoms with six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus.Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.Stratigraphy is based on the law of superposition--like a layer cake, the lowest layers must have been formed first.Radiocarbon is an isotope with two extra neutrons, created by cosmic rays interacting with nitrogen in Earth's atmosphere.