Relative dating of rock correct ages dating sites
On rare occasion, archaeological deposits can accumulate up against a petroglyph panel, concealing part or all of the art.
In that case, it may be possible to discern a minimum age for the art because its creation had to precede the archaeological deposit covering it.
Sometimes the proximity of a campsite or settlement that is dated directly by absolute dating methods is considered helpful for determining the age of an apparently associated petroglyph panel, but caution must be exercised, since it does not always mean that the site’s inhabitants were the artists who created the art.
Often there are multiple sites of varying ages nearby and the petroglyph itself may be a palimpsest of images created through the ages.
Absolute dating utilizes one or more of a variety of chronometric techniques to produce a computed numerical age, typically with a standard error.Using this process geologists are able to assign actual ages with known degrees of error to specific geologic events.By combining knowledge gained using both relative and absolute dating processes geologists have been able to produce the geologic time scale.In this case, a rock art panel may be judged to be younger, older or basically contemporaneous with another petroglyph, a site, an artifact, or other evidence of known antiquity.Relative dating, although somewhat less satisfying than absolute dating in terms of precision, is considerably more successful for petroglyphs.
Clues to relative dating include: the manufacturing technique used; the patina covering the art; the layering of figures on top of each other; the style of human forms; and the particular animal species, types of artifacts and subject matter shown.