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For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of one civilization were found to have been built on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.

However, carbon dating is an absolute dating technique that can give an estimate of the actual age of an artifact and thus an estimate of the age of other objects in the same layer.

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If you have 3 layers of rock, the one in the middle is younger than the bottom one and older than the top one.

If you know when the top or bottom layers were formed - you know just about when was the middle one formed.

Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.

Many of these organisms have left their remains as fossils in sedimentary rocks.

The circumstances of the object may allow one to say that one object is older than another without being able to assign a particular age to the objects.

Very often historical evidence is found in layers and older layers are further down that the top layers.For a determination in the field, geologists attempt to date a rock or fossil based on its relative age, which is usually determined by the presence of a trace fossil, or the position of the rock layer in relation to a layer of rock with a known age.A trace fossil is the remains of a rapidly evolving organism that was widespread geographically, and is known to have existed only during a specific geologic time period.The age is based on the half-life of the isotopes (their rate of decay over time).When the age is determined in this manner, it is called the absolute age, from absolute dating techniques.Radiometric dating, based on known rates of decay of radioactive isotopes in objects, allows a specific age of an object to be determined to some degree of accuracy.

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