This is both a compelling and an essential reference for those scholars who wish to understand current procedures and problems, and future prospects in science-based archaeological chronology. The volumes in this series are published in cooperation with the Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS), an organization of natural scientists and professional archaeologists. Taylor is the author of numerous scientific papers and monographs, including (1987) and was coeditor with A. Holding a doctoral degree in nuclear physics, his principle areas of research were in magnetic prospection, archaeomagnetism, and luminescence dating.Chronometric Dating in Archaeology is the second volume in a new series initiated by Plenum Press entitled "Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science," and takes its place beside the initial volume in the series, , edited by George Rapp, Jr. The society's members come from diverse disciplines but share the common belief that natural science techniques and methods constitute an essential component of both archaeological field and laboratory studies. In 1983 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Taylor's name has become synonymous with the evolution and refinement of methods in radiocarbon dating, while Aitkin is celebrated as one of the leading international authorities on luminescence techniques and the chronologies of ancient climates.Aitken's own 1990 work may be the last volume of its type to have sole authorship.Therefore, Taylor and Aitken assembled 19 of the world's leading experts on a dozen aspects of archaeological dating method and theory.Basic textbooks on archaeological method and theory relate that there are two methods of establishing chronology: 1) methods of relative dating (ascertaining the correct order of the events) and 2) absolute or chronometric dating (quantifying the measurement of time in terms of years or other fixed units).
This impressive and well-written volume focuses exclusively upon absolute or chronometric dating techniques and presents an up-to-date wealth of information about methodologies in a dynamic field. Taylor and Aitken, both of whom are established scientists and scholars, are also the editors of the volume being reviewed. His research focuses on the application of dating and analytical techniques in archaeology (the latter known as archaeometry) with an emphasis on radiocarbon dating. Kra of Radiocarbon after Four Decades: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (1992). Aitkin is now Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Oxford University and was for many years affiliated with Oxford's Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art.
Chronometric Dating for the Archaeologist isn't bedtime reading, nor is it for the faint-of-heart, but at the same time one does not have to have a background in materials science or organic or inorganic chemistry to understand the basic premise of the work.
The editors' goal is to present a factual, current, and well-documented evaluation of a dozen of the major techniques that are used by scientists to determine chronology from archaeological artifacts or contexts.
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If you appreciate this service, please consider donating to H-Net so we can continue to provide this service free of charge. Translate this review into As a practicing archaeologist who has been cross trained in several of the physical sciences and taught archaeological field methods and laboratory analyses at the university level, I approached an assessment of this work with great anticipation and, at the same time, hesitant caution.
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