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As a noun, ‘date’ may refer to the date shown on a coin, book or building, presumably representing the time of minting, printing or completion, i.e. But it may alternatively refer to a time period of some considerable duration (e.g.hundreds of millennia) from which an archaeological, palaeontological or geological phenomenon supposedly ‘dates’.

refutable) dating information provided by archaeometrists is interpreted as if it referred to real ages.

In nearly all cases, such data are subject to significant qualifications, which in archaeological use are not adequately taken into account.

The corruption imposed on the first meaning becomes apparent when the term is used in the second meaning but the precision implicit in the first meaning is often attributed to such usage.

Significant problems also arise when the scientific (i.e.

Moreover, due to its extremely low specific gravity relative to other sediment particles, charcoal tends to ‘float’ on top of a deposit through trampling or other disturbances, and it is easily transported by wind, water and biological agents (e.g. Its taphonomy ensures that few charcoal pieces are recovered from the locations of actual hearths, so there is no proof that they provide precise dates for the final deposition of the sediment they were recovered from (Bednarik 1989a).