This method is primarily applied to projectile points and ceramic vessels.
These present many characteristics that are used for comparing them, such as morphology and raw materials in the case of stone tools, and decorative techniques and motifs in the case of ceramics.
For those researchers working in the field of human history, the chronology of events remains a major element of reflection.
Radiocarbon dating, however, can only be used for dating objects that are less than 50 000 years.
The bones were buried under (and are therefore older) a layer of ash that resulted from a volcanic eruption dating back to 7000 years BP (Before Present; "present" indicates c. Subsequently, radiocarbon dating, an absolute dating technique, was used to date the bones directly and provided a date of 8250 BP, showing how useful the combined used of relative and absolute dating can be.
Moreover, stratigraphic dating is sometimes based on the objects that are found within the soil strata.
Indeed, some items whose exact or approximate age is known are called "diagnostic artifacts." Examples of such objects include very specific stone tools, different pottery styles, objects that belong to a specific period (eg, the historic period or the French regime), coins with a production date, or other items bearing a trademark and whose history can be traced in historical records.
Their presence on archaeological sites is used to date the soil layers and the objects and events they are associated with and thus contributes to refine the chronology of sites.