It should be emphasized that linking sites together is essential if the nature of an ancient society is to be understood, as the information at a single location may be relatively insignificant by itself.
Similarly, in geologic studies, vast quantities of information from widely spaced outcrops have to be integrated.
Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.
However, scientists can look at the decay of other elements in these objects allowing them to date them up to 2.2 billion years.
In fact, even in younger rocks, absolute dating is the only way that the fossil record can be calibrated.
Without absolute ages, investigators could only determine which fossil organisms lived at the same time and the relative order of their appearance in the correlated sedimentary rock record.
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Radiocarbon Dating One method that scientists use to date ancient fossils and artifacts is called radiocarbon dating.
Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled.
This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.
Although with clever detective work many complex time sequences or relative ages can be deduced, the ability to show that objects at two separated sites were formed at the same time requires additional information.