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Chronometric Dating for the Archaeologist isn't bedtime reading, nor is it for the faint-of-heart, but at the same time one does not have to have a background in materials science or organic or inorganic chemistry to understand the basic premise of the work.The editors' goal is to present a factual, current, and well-documented evaluation of a dozen of the major techniques that are used by scientists to determine chronology from archaeological artifacts or contexts.In essence, the reader is exposed to a history of the refinement of a scientific procedure.
Archaeology is, indeed, one of the humanities (so-defined by the United States Congress in 1965), but it is also one that has borrowed paradigms, methods, and analytical techniques, and adopted analogies and inferences from many of the natural, physical, and social sciences, and the humanities.The editors encouraged them to provide a summary of progress in their respective techniques during the past three decades (emphasizing the developments that have taken place within the past five years) and the status of current research.This group of outstanding international scholars includes an Australian, two Canadians, one Indian, one New Zealander, two authors from the United Kingdom, and 12 contributors from the United States."Dendrochronology" (so-called tree-ring dating) is explicated next, and its nearly world wide applications are reviewed.The subsequent group of techniques depends upon the physicochemical premise that unstable parent isotopes decay at a known rate and produce stable daughter isotopes.
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This is both a compelling and an essential reference for those scholars who wish to understand current procedures and problems, and future prospects in science-based archaeological chronology. The volumes in this series are published in cooperation with the Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS), an organization of natural scientists and professional archaeologists. Taylor is the author of numerous scientific papers and monographs, including (1987) and was coeditor with A. Holding a doctoral degree in nuclear physics, his principle areas of research were in magnetic prospection, archaeomagnetism, and luminescence dating.