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Once an artefact is compared to its known development date then whenever that item reappears in the archaeological record, of that or any other site, it can quickly be dated.
The shape and style of an artefact changes through time although its function may remain the same.
The changing styles of pottery, glass, stoneware, and metal objects provide archaeology analysts with known progressive sequences.
Relative dating in archaeology presumes the age of an artefact in relation and by comparison, to other objects found in its vicinity.
Limits to relative dating are that it cannot provide an accurate year or a specific date of use.
When an archaeological site is excavated the sides of the unexcavated baulk reveals layering of subsequent settlements and activity.Stratigraphic excavation is the recording and study of these different strata as they are removed from the area.