Typology dating techniques
It must be made clear at the outset that typology is not, strictly speaking, a dating method, but a means of placing artefacts into some kind of order.
Classification divides things up for the purposes of description, whereas typology seeks to identify and analyse changes that will allow artefacts to be placed into sequences.
The systematic arrangement of empirical evidence is the necessary premise of any archaeological enquiry.
If the process that generated an observed pattern has to be investigated, archaeologists need to choose scales and units of analysis that are appropriate for their specific context and the relative research questions.
Typology, classification, and grouping techniques were developed in the last century so that archaeological datasets could be ordered and analyzed.
This chapter provides an overview of the most relevant approaches to archaeological sorting.
Seriation was developed in the USA to place in order finds from strata or other kinds of assemblages such as potsherds collected from the surface of sites.
Prehistorians sometimes overestimate the accuracy and detail of frameworks based on historical evidence; in practice, early written sources may provide little more information than a scatter of radiocarbon dates.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: morphological type; morphology CATEGORY: typology DEFINITION: A descriptive and abstract grouping of individual artifacts whose focus is on overall similarity rather than specific form or function.
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.