The question, How old is it? Dating methods, such as radiocarbon dating, dendro-chronology or tree-ring dating, and potassium-argon dating, that may furnish an absolute date for an archaeological site, are a contribution of the physical and the natural sciences. But absolute dating methods are not always useful; the particular circumstances to which they apply do not exist at every site.
When museums and collectors purchase archaeological items for their collections they enter an expensive and potentially deceptive commercial fine arts arena.
The emergence of man through the process of biological and cultural evolution is a story of long span of time. For the archaeologist and the prehistorian who deals with that long history of man, time is the most important consideration. The sequence of development of culture or the relationship between events that represent culture can be established only when events can be placed in proper time.
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