Ceramic dating

When museums and collectors purchase archaeological items for their collections they enter an expensive and potentially deceptive commercial fine arts arena.Healthy profits are to be made from illicitly plundered ancient sites or selling skillfully made forgeries.Archaeology dating techniques can assure buyers that their item is not a fake by providing scientific reassurance of the artefact's likely age.

The mean dates are assigned importance according to the quantity of each pottery type at the site.

Relative dating in archaeology presumes the age of an artefact in relation and by comparison, to other objects found in its vicinity.

Limits to relative dating are that it cannot provide an accurate year or a specific date of use.

’This process is well known,’ says Margaret Carter, who worked on the project at the University of Manchester, UK.

’Experienced bricklayers will not use bricks that are kiln-fresh as they can expand - quite rapidly at first.’ Importantly, Carter explains, ceramic materials continue reacting with water at a steady rate over their lifetime, regardless of their environment - whether buried, stored underground or exposed to the elements - and this precise rate of absorption acts as an internal clock.

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