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Archaeologists use many different techniques to determine the age of a particular artifact, site, or part of a site.Two broad categories of dating or chronometric techniques that archaeologists use are called relative and absolute dating.Stratigraphy is the oldest of the relative dating methods that archaeologists use to date things.

There are dendrochronological records for Europe and the Aegean, and the International Tree Ring Database has contributions from 21 different countries.The main drawback to dendrochronology is its reliance on the existence of relatively long-lived vegetation with annual growth rings.Secondly, annual rainfall is a regional climatic event, and so tree ring dates for the southwest are of no use in other regions of the world.Using local pine trees, Douglass built a 450 year record of the tree ring variability.Clark Wissler, an anthropologist researching Native American groups in the Southwest, recognized the potential for such dating, and brought Douglass subfossil wood from puebloan ruins.

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