- Code ARCH3042
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Archaeology
- Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology
This course provides an overview of the principle dating techniques used within archaeology and, more generally, the Quaternary. Starting with fundamental principles such as stratigraphy and relatively simple methods such as dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), the course will progress to examine some of the main scientifically based methods, such as radiocarbon, U-series, potassium/argon, luminescence and electron spin resonance dating. Students will learn to design dating strategies, evaluate published datasets and build chronological models to interrogate archaeological and palaeoenvironmental hypotheses. Where possible, the course will include visits to the respective laboratories.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- explain the basic principles underlying the dating techniques applied to archaeological and quaternary palaeoenvironmental questions;
- identify which techniques can be used in a variety of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental contexts;
- use examples to illustrate the advantages and limitations of the methods;
- evaluate whether a published chronological dataset is able to answer an archaeological or palaeoenvironmental question; and
- construct a chronological model to test an archaeological or palaeoenvironmental hypothesis.
- Essay (2000 words) (50) [LO 3,4,5]
- Two x one hour short answer tests (12.5% each) (25) [LO 1,2]
- OxCal exercise - Construction and evaluation of a Bayesian chronological model (500 word report) (25) [LO 5]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Bayliss, A., 2009. Rolling Out Revolution: Using Radiocarbon Dating in Archaeology. Radiocarbon 51 (1), 123-147.
Bayliss, A., 2015. Quality in Bayesian chronological models in archaeology. World Archaeology 47 (4), 677-700.
Bronk Ramsey, C., 2008. Radiocarbon dating: Revolutions in understanding. Archaeometry 50 (2), 249-275.
Grün, R., 2006. Direct dating of human fossils. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 131 (SUPPL. 43), 2-48.
Grün, R., Eggins, S., Kinsley, L., Moseley, H. and Sambridge, M., 2014. Laser ablation U-series analysis of fossil bones and teeth. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 416, 150-167.
Hellstrom, J. and Pickering, R., 2015. Recent advances and future prospects of the U-Th and U-Pb chronometers applicable to archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 56, 32-40.
Lane, C.S., Cullen, V.L., White, D., Bramham-Law, C.W.F. and Smith, V.C., 2014. Cryptotephra as a dating and correlation tool in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 42 (1), 42-50.
Penkman, K., 2010. Amino acid geochronology: Its impact on our understanding of the Quaternary stratigraphy of the British Isles. Journal of Quaternary Science 25 (4), 501-514.
Rhodes, E., 2011. Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dating of Sediments over the Past 200,000 years. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 2011. 39:461—88.
Roberts, R.G., Jacobs, Z., Li, B., Jankowski, N.R., Cunningham, A.C. and Rosenfeld, A.B., 2015. Optical dating in archaeology: Thirty years in retrospect and grand challenges for the future. Journal of Archaeological Science 56, 41-60.
Wood, R., 2015. From revolution to convention: The past, present and future of radiocarbon dating. Journal of Archaeological Science 56, 61-72.
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