Since stratigraphy establishes that sedimentation occurs according to uniform principles, it is easier for archaeologists to draw up conclusions.
When excavating, techniques used are based on the principles of stratigraphy.
Stratigraphy is the science of interpreting and describing layers and strata of sediments.
Commonly these layers are levels of sedimentary rock, but stratigraphy can also include the study of non-ossified sediments, like those in stream beds and lake bottoms, of inclusions such as volcanic ash and lava, and even the study of different layers of human occupation.
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These principles are thus valuable for many different types of scientist, ranging from prospecting geologists to city planners to archaeologists and paleontologists studying human and animal history and prehistory.
The study of stratified rocks is known as stratigraphy.
In recent years, a few of these methods have come under close scrutiny as scientists strive to develop the most accurate dating techniques possible.
Stratigraphic studies deal primarily with sedimentary rocks but may also encompass layered igneous rocks (e.g., those resulting from successive lava flows) or metamorphic rocks formed either from such extrusive igneous material or from sedimentary rocks.
A common goal of stratigraphic studies is the subdivision of a sequence of rock strata into mappable units, determining the time relationships that are involved, and correlating units of the sequence—or the entire sequence—with rock strata elsewhere.
Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of a specimen.
Relative dating methods tell only if one sample is older or younger than another; absolute dating methods provide a date in years.