This activity has students working as archaeologists.They will excavate a hypothetical archaeological site from their school yard, make observations, and write an interpretation of the history of the area based on the evidence they will excavate.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.
Concept 3, PO 5: Distinguish between relative and absolute geologic dating techniques.
To facilitate the activity, the teacher will provide some introduction to absolute dating principles through the Half Life of M&M Worksheet.
Then in Phase 2 of the project, the teacher will provide the students with plastic bins each representing a different stratum of the archaeological site.
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-14 (or radiocarbon) dating, which is used to date organic remains.Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years carbon dating is only reliable about up to 60,000 years, radiocarbon is less useful to date some recent sites. This technique usually cannot pinpoint the date of a site better than historic records.