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But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation...radiometric methods of dating rocks, the ages of rocks and other geologic features could not be expressed quantitatively, or as numbers of years, but instead were expressed solely in terms of relative ages, in which the age of a particular geologic feature could be expressed as relatively younger or older than other geologic features. Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled.This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.
Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata.
However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.
The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.
If archaeologists know how pottery styles, glazes, and techniques have changed over time they can date sites based on the ratio of different kinds of pottery.
This also works with stone tools which are found abundantly at different sites and across long periods of time.
Stratigraphic dating is based on the principle of depositional superposition of layers of sediments called strata.