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Relative dating methods are used to determine only if one sample is older or younger than another.

Absolute dating methods are used to determine an actual date in years for the age of an object.

The age of the remains of plants, animals, and other organic material can be determined by measuring the amount of carbon-14 contained in that material.

Carbon-14, a radioactive form of the element carbon, is created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (invisible, high-energy particles that constantly bombard Earth from all directions in space).

The older the pottery, the brighter the light that will be emitted.

Using thermoluminescence, pottery pieces as old as 100,000 years can be dated with precision. Known as dendrochronology (pronounced den-dro-crow-NOL-o-gee), tree-ring dating is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 remaining, scientists can pinpoint the exact date of the organism's death.

The range of conventional radiocarbon dating is 30,000 to 40,000 years.

The most widely used and accepted form of absolute dating is radioactive decay dating. Radioactive decay refers to the process in which a radioactive form of an element is converted into a nonradioactive product at a regular rate.When carbon-14 falls to Earth, it is absorbed by plants.These plants are eaten by animals who, in turn, are eaten by even larger animals.Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events.The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.

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