Chronological context, an understanding of when human occupations and activities took place, is the focus of chapter 3. North American archaeologists have relied heavily relied on the radiocarbon dating method to determine age, even though the results are not straightforward, and researchers who do not understand its pitfalls can, and have, entered dubious findings in publications. Thus, it becomes important to include the raw radiocarbon data along with calibrated data and the pretreatment protocols used in the radiocarbon determination. Though the radiocarbon method has grown increasingly sophisticated over the past two decades, it is not the only method. Radiation exposure, or Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating, is widely utilized today for its ability to determine the burial age of quartz sand. Two other methods include long-lived radioactive isotope, uranium-series dating and dendrochronology. These latter methods are particularly applicable to wetland and riverine sediments and may, one day, be put into widespread use, particularly in karst river settings with sequences of channel-fill strata.
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