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Anthropology optional for UPSC - Dating methods like relative and absolute dating for finding age

The emergence of man through the process of biological and cultural evolution is a story of long span of time. For the archaeologist and the prehistorian who deals with that long history of man, time is the most important consideration. The sequence of development of culture or the relationship between events that represent culture can be established only when events can be placed in proper time. Chronology, the study of events in time frame, is hence the central theme of archaeologist, like the geologist who deals with the story of earth history. In fact, chronology is one of the most fundamental issues in and perhaps a characteristic of archaeology. Archaeologists use several methods to assign ages to events of the past. They are engaged in defining the stages of hominid evolution and their artifactual record, and the assignment of a chronology to these stages.

Collectors and travelers of classical times, such as Herodotus, studied historic monuments and produced speculative accounts of prehistory. In fact, several dozen classical authors in the first millennium BC ordered time as a succession of ages based on technological progress.

A three-age system encompassing the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages was the most common time-sorting methodology, but there were variations with copper and gold. Lucretius BC summarized these Western views of dating the past.

Relative and Absolute Dating

The principle of a systematic organization of ex situ archaeological materials started with the understanding of the three-age system in the 16th century by Michael Mercati , who was the superintendent of the Vatican gardens and adviser to Pope Clement VIII.

The combination of his Renaissance education, his substantial mineral and fossil collections, and his access to the newly acquired American ethnographic artifact collections permitted Mercati to formulate the foundations of modern archaeology. His observations, which were not easily accessible until the 18th century, are all the more remarkable when one considers the intellectual milieu of that era.

In Europe during this era, inquiry into the prehistoric past was discouraged, because the Bible was regarded as the supreme authority on human history and the early history of the earth.

For example, creationism dominated scholarly writings on the origin of the universe and humanity, and during this period, fossils of marine organisms that were sometimes found in mountains were described as being washed up by the Great Flood. Ancient arrow points and other prehistoric stone tools were thought to have been produced by thunderbolts and other natural phenomena. Prehistoric stone arrow points and axes were believed to have fallen from the sky at the moment when thunder stuck.

These implements were called thunder-stones, ceraunia, or pierre de foudre. It generally was believed that all living plant and animal species were survivors of the Great Flood and that with careful biblical research, especially on the book of Genesis, it was possible to calculate the age of the earth. For example, in , Dr.

John Lightfoot, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, calculated that the universe was created in BC, on October 23, at 9: Don't worry, no money was drawn from you. Accept all major credit and debit cards. All payment are encrypted, stored and securely processed by Stripe. Mon Feb 25 The same amount of trash from a landfill is recycled every day. The function below shows the total number of tons of trash n left in the landfill after x days.

Assume that new trash is not added to the landfill. Amount of trash left after 1 day Amount of trash recycled in x days Amount of trash recycled every day Amount of trash originally in the landfill. Passage 1 adapted from Keeping Your Gut in Check from NIH News in Health There is a lot that happens in your digestive system between the time when you eat something and when it goes through your body.

The health of your gut plays a big role in your overall well-being, so it is important to make choices that help your body stay on track.

How do anthropologists use the absolute dating technique

Your digestive tract is a long, muscular tube that runs through your body. It's about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break food and drink down into smaller molecules of nutrients.

The blood absorbs these and carries them through the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair. With such a long digestive highway, it's common to run into bumps in the road. About 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. Chang asserts that people should eat at least grams of fiber a day to avoid digestive issues. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, so it is healthy to eat them at every meal and as much as possible.

A variety of fruits and vegetables provides a healthy mix of different fibers and nutrients to a healthy diet, so the more produce people can pack into their meals, the better. Nutritionists state that an added benefit is that the more fiber from fruits and vegetables people eat, the less room people will have in their stomachs for less healthier options.

The dietary fiber from fruits helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. The longest sequence known goes back only 17, years. Third, the varves may form frequently rather than annually depending on the pattern of the melting. However, instead of the limitations, varve analysis can be used indirectly for archaeological dating.

In North America, Ernst Antevs has made several attempts to relate Pleistocene geological formations in the American Southwest to events that produced varves in the northern parts of North America.

Dating Techniques

Fission Track Technique - This technique dates material ranging from 20 years to 1,,, years before the present.

Fission track dating is based upon the fact that over geological time spontaneous fission of uranium impurities produces minute sub- microscopic damage trails in the most insulating solids, both long period of time. As the damage sites are permanent, a simple count of their number allows an age to be measured. The density of track depends on the uranium content as well as the age of the sample i. The sample is immersed in the proper chemical reagent, which allows rapid attack of the narrow regions of damage and slower dissolution of the adjacent unchanged material.

Such treatment are used to create etch pits of optical size, each one making a single fission site. The method requires sufficient uranium to produce a track density, which can be counted within reasonable time.

Amino Acid Racemisation, a method of absolute dating applied to human fossils is developed very recently. This is based on the fact that all living organisms have L-amino acid in their protein and after death, and over a long period of time all the L-amino acids except glycine undergo change called racemisation and became non protein D-amino acid.

The proportion of these D-amino acids increases with time. Thus the age of the skeletal materials that are found in archaeological sites can be estimated by determining the amount of change, racemisation that has occurred.

Amino Acid Racemisation AAR is a useful comparative dating method with great potential, but it introduces problems of calibration and the requirement of an intimate knowledge of the palaeoenvironmental conditions of the bone deposition site.

Most suitabl e materials. Effective datin g rang e.

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