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The dates from these various hearths place individual buildings in time, making it possible to determine which of the dated buildings are older and which more recent (Figure 2).In some cases, hearths were refurbished and multiple samples were taken from a succession of hearths in one building.Like tail fins on a Cadillac, artifact styles and characteristics change over time, coming into fashion, then fading in popularity. The standard graphical result of seriation is a series of "battleship curves," which are horizontal bars representing percentages plotted on a vertical axis.
In other words, artifacts found in the upper layers of a site will have been deposited more recently than those found in the lower layers.
Additional Information More detailed information on the archaeomagnetic dates from Toqua can be found in: Lengyel, Stacey N., Jeffery L.
Archaeologists use many different techniques to determine the age of a particular artifact, site, or part of a site.
Archaeomagnetic dating is an absolute dating technique that relies on the fact that the earth’s magnetic field (the “North Pole”) changes in direction and intensity through time, and that certain archaeological features preserve evidence of the pole’s location at specific times.
For example, a hearth made from clay is an excellent source of archaeomagnetic information because clay typically contains iron minerals that, when fired, become remagnetized parallel with the earth’s poles.