In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.The extra neutrons in Carbon-14’s case make it radioactive (thus the term, radiocarbon).
There are two techniques for dating in archaeological sites: relative and absolute dating.
Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else.
Rodents, for example, can create havoc in a site by moving items from one context to another.
Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations.
As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.
It is good for dating for the last 50,000 years to about 400 years ago and can create chronologies for areas that previously lacked calendars. Carbon has different isotopes, which are usually not radioactive; C is the radioactive one, its half-life, or time it takes to radioactively decay to one half its original amount, is about 5,730 years.The relatively short-lived C taken into organic matter is also slightly variable. However, under about 20,000 years the results can be compared with dendrochronology, based on tree rings.Carbon 14 is continually being created in the Earth's atmosphere by the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.Since atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, the Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained constant.The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.