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Absolute dating is the process of determining a specific date for an archaeological or palaeontological site or artifact. Some archaeologists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies a certainty and precision that is rarely possible in archaeology. Absolute dating is usually based on the physical or chemical properties of the materials of artifacts, buildings, or other items that have been modified by humans. Absolute dates do not necessarily tell us when a particular cultural event happened, but when taken as part of the overall archaeological record they are invaluable in constructing a more specific sequence of events. Absolute dating contrasts with the relative dating techniques employed, such as stratigraphy. Absolute dating provides a numerical age for the material tested, while relative dating can only provide a sequence of age. One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon or radiocarbon dating, which is used to date organic remains.
It can be achieved through the use of historical records and through the analysis of biological and geological patterns. Although development of radiometric methods led to the first breakthroughs in establishing an absolute time scale, other absolute methods have limited applications. Chief among these are dendochronology, varve analysis, hydration dating, and TL dating.
The absolute dating tells us exactly when something happened in years. By using the carbon 14 technique it can be very accurate to about 40, years ago, and also by studying the rocks, it can be accurate to an incredible million years backwards. This is of great importance for the fields of geology and paleontology, as well as all the sciences that use the information's from them for their own studies. This method allows the scientists to be able to put things into the right order as to when they happened in the geological history, thus creating a very accurate picture of the order of the events that took place in the past of our planet.