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Dating methods in historical archaeology differ little from the methods of archaeology in general.Both absolute and relative dating approaches are employed.The dating of remains is essential in archaeology, in order to place finds in correct relation to one another, and to understand what was present in the experience of any human being at a given time and place.Inscribed objects sometimes bear an explicit date, or preserve the name of a dated individual. However, only a small number of objects are datable by inscriptions, and there are many specific problems with Egyptian chronology, so that even inscribed objects are rarely datable in absolute terms.

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b) Absolute These methods are based on calculating the date of artefacts in a more precise way using different attributes of materials.

Stratigraphy is based on the law of superposition--like a layer cake, the lowest layers must have been formed first.

In other words, artifacts found in the upper layers of a site will have been deposited more recently than those found in the lower layers.

In the archaeology of part-literate societies, dating may be said to operate on two levels: the absolute exactness found in political history or 'history event-by-event', and the less precise or relative chronology, as found in social and economic history, where life can be seen to change with less precision over time.

The contrast might also be drawn between two 'dimensions', the historical, and the archaeological, corresponding roughly to the short-term and long-term history envisaged by Fernand Braudel.