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By measuring the amount of carbon-14 remaining, scientists can pinpoint the exact date of the organism's death.
The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.Narrow rings grow in cold or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm or wet years.The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given species and geographical area.The older the pottery, the brighter the light that will be emitted.
Using thermoluminescence, pottery pieces as old as 100,000 years can be dated with precision. Known as dendrochronology (pronounced den-dro-crow-NOL-o-gee), tree-ring dating is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.
Relative dating methods are used to determine only if one sample is older or younger than another.