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ARTIFACT | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Understanding the ancient people of Beringia is essential to testing hypotheses about how humans colonized the Americas. More than 40 years ago, an archeological discovery at the site known as Teklanika West in Denali National Park and Preserve provided direct material evidence that prehistoric people lived in the central Alaska Range around 7, years ago. They used stone tools that were remarkably similar to tools found in Siberia dated to the Ice Age. A site at Dry Creek just northeast of Denali was excavated in the s. This site was determined to be much older than Teklanika West, dating to the end of the last Ice Age 13, to 12, years before present. However, the rugged landscapes of Denali are difficult to survey, and no archeological discoveries from the Ice Age had been found within the park—until recently. In , the park initiated a four-year survey to learn more about known and potential archeological sites in Denali.
How archaeologists determine the date of ancient sites and artifacts
How can scientists accurately date when stone tools were made, like those found at Lake Turkana in Kenya? Radiocarbon dating is widely used to date materials like charcoal from hearths and carbonate in snail shells, Dr. Kent said, but it is limited to about the last 50, years because of the short half-life of carbon For older sediments, techniques include tephrochronology involving potassium and magnetostratigraphy involving iron. In tephrochronology, layers of volcanic ash, tephra, often contain potassium-bearing minerals whose crystallization age can be determined, even going back billions of years.
Archaeology is one of Kelley's great passions. He's read many books on the subject, as well as every issue of "Archaeology" since In times past, things that appeared old were simply considered old, maybe as old as the story of Atlantis, the biblical flood or the earth itself, but nobody knew for certain how old anything was. Then in the early twentieth century scientists began using absolute dating techniques, perhaps the most prominent of which is carbon It would be hard to imagine modern archaeology without this elegant and precise dating method.