The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of 'relative dating' as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.The regular order of occurrence of fossils in rock layers was discovered around 1800 by William Smith.
Dating is very important in archaeology for constructing models of the past, as it relies on the integrity of datable objects and samples.
Many disciplines of archaeological science are concerned with dating evidence.
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In practice several different dating techniques must be applied in some circumstances, thus dating evidence for much of an archaeological sequence recorded during excavation requires matching information from known absolute or some associated steps, with a careful study of stratigraphic relationships.