Carbon dating metal
Several dating methods exist, depending on different criteria and techniques, and some very well known examples of disciplines using such techniques are, for example, history, archaeology, geology, paleontology, astronomy and even forensic science, since in the latter it is sometimes necessary to investigate the moment in the past in which the death of a cadaver occurred.
Relative dating methods are unable to determine the absolute age of an object or event, but can determine the impossibility of a particular event happening before or after another event of which the absolute date is well known.
Chronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously established chronology.
This usually requires what is commonly known as a "dating method".
The stratigraphy of an archaeological site can be used to date, or refine the date, of particular activities ("contexts") on that site.
For example, if a context is sealed between two other contexts of known date, it can be inferred that the middle context must date to between those dates.
An example of a practical application of seriation, is the comparison of the known style of artefacts such as stone tools or pottery.
It was the case of an 18th-century sloop whose excavation was led in South Carolina (United States) in 1992.
Thus, from the oldest to the youngest, all archaeological sites are likely to be dated by an appropriate method.
It is commonly assumed that if the remains or elements to be dated are older than the human species, the disciplines which study them are sciences such geology or paleontology, among some others.
Nevertheless, the range of time within archaeological dating can be enormous compared to the average lifespan of a singular human being.