The methods used by archaeologists to gather data can be applied to any time period, including the very recent past. This “garbology” project proved that even recent artifacts can reveal a lot about the people who used and discarded them.
has become known for his study of the garbage discarded by the people of Tuscon, Arizona in the 1970s!
Aspartic acid is the compound most often used because it has a of 15,000-20,000 years and allows dates from 5,000-100,000 years to be calculated.
However, racemization is very much affected by environmental factors such as temperature change.
This research uncovers the written records associated with the study area.
If the area was inhabited during historical times (in the past several hundred years in North America) the archaeologist will look for primary historical documents associated with the study area.
Archival research is often the first step in archaeology.
Aerial Photography - The various techniques of taking photographs of natural or cultural features from the air, using balloons, airplanes, satellites, and other sources, in order to study the features in their entirety from a top-down (bird's eye) view.
Aerial Reconnaissance - The technique of searching for sites and features, both cultural and natural, from the air, often using aerial photography or the human eye.
Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.
Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.