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It's About Time

It's About Time
Stephen E. Nash, ed.
Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2000
CC78 .I87 2000

Archaeologists working at the turn of the millenium have any number of techniques at their disposal to elucidate temporal relationships and "date" events of archaeological significance. These range from simple visual examination of object placement within a stratigraphic cross-section to highly technical analyses of material, chemical, and physical properties of artifacts, features, or the sediments in which they are found.

Yet despite the key role of chronology within archaeology, the history of archaeological dating and its effect on the interpretation of prehistory has never been actively considered.

In this book, archaeologists with expertise in stratigraphy, ceramic dating, dendrochronology, radiocarbon dating, archaeomagnetic dating, obsidian hydration, and luminescence dating present historical and nontechnical reviews of the growth, development, and application of their techniques. These reviews, as well as one by a sociologist of science, provide archaeologists who do not specialize in such methods with a better undestanding of how each technique became integrated within archaeological research. Each expert then evaluates the effect of the specific dating technique and its resulting data on the interpretation of North American prehistory. The analyses, which include case studies, provide guidelines for the proper interpretation of chronologic and chronometric data.

It's About Time will be of use to professional archaeologists, as well as being accessible for anyone with an interest in the history and techniques of modern archaeology.

Quoted from dust jacket.