Field Processing: While in the field, archeologists make decisions about artifact collection and sampling of cultural and natural remains and sediments. All chronometric techniques present statistically measurable uncertainty about the dates determined by the techniques. The two-sigma range is more likely to be correct, but provides a much broader date range than the one-sigma error term.For example, what size screen should be used to sieve the dirt removed from an excavation unit? The analysis of materials collected from archeological sites, is of course, the root of much of the information we now know about prehistory. This uncertainty, or error, is presented as either one-sigma (67% confidence that the date range within one standard deviation is correct) or two-sigma (95% confidence that the date range within two standard deviations is correct). Discussed below are common chronometric dating techniques employed in the Southwest: Although it is common for many archeologists to use the term absolute dating for chronometric techniques as well as those techniques producing absolute single-year dates, in this discussion, dendrochronology is the only dating technique considered absolutely accurate, or absolute, because of its ability to produce a single calendrical date.Excavation: Archeologists excavate buried cultural remains to both gather information about past human behavior and to preserve and protect cultural resources from destruction, either from human or natural processes. Discussed below are the three major types of dating used in archeology – relative dating, chronometric dating, and absolute dating – and some of the more popular methods employed in each general category.Archeological excavations, or “digs,” are conducted using very specific methods and rigorous vertical and horizontal spatial controls. Relative dating in archeology determines the age of cultural material in relation to other cultural material, but does not produce precise dates.Survey: Survey accounts for the initial in-field investigations of a region, and aims to record artifacts, features, and site locations of archeological interest.An archeological survey is typically accomplished by a crew of people systematically walking transects, or linear, evenly spaced lines, across an area of interest, although aerial inventories are also possible with the use of small planes, helicopters, and even satellite imagery.
Several important types of remote sensing used in archeology are discussed below. P., when used in the context of reporting radiocarbon assays, measures dates in radiocarbon years from the ‘present’ of 1950.Many archeologists specialize in the analysis of specific classes of material, such as ceramics, flaked stone, animal bone, human remains, pollen, soils, charcoal, plant remains, and shell. For example, if a chronometric technique returns the date of 600 B. P., and a 95% chance that the true date falls between 440 B. Dendroclimatology: Dendroclimatology is an accurate, precise, and reliable means of climatic reconstruction that relies on the fact that tree-rings store an annual record of precipitation.