Dating methods in archaeology establish the time and sequence of events that created archaeological deposits and layers, called strata, within those deposits. Absolute dating relies on biological, chemical (radiometric), geological/electromagnetic, or historical investigation to obtain the date range of a deposit.
In relative dating, the temporal order of a sequence of events is determined, allowing the investigator to surmise whether a particular object or event is older or younger than, or occurred before or after, another object or event.
In absolute or chronometric dating, the investigator establishes the age of an object or event in calendar years.
This expository paper gives a survey of statistical problems arising in two important and widely used scientific methods of dating archaeological deposits, namely tree-ring-calibrated radiocarbon dates and seriation.
All dating methods have limitations and can be complicated by turbation, or mixing, of layers by human or natural actions.
Multiple dating methods are usually required before dates are accepted.