However, as the basic principles of relative dating progressed during the course of the 19th cent., investigators were able to correctly determine the relative age of many archaeological and geological materials.
Stratigraphic dating is accomplished by interpreting the significance of geological or archaeological strata, or layers.
In geology, a master stratigraphic sequence for a particular region is built up by correlating the strata from different locations with one another.
As new locations are investigated, the geologist attempts to fit the new profiles into the master sequence of geological strata for that region.
Estimates of the absolute age of prehistoric and geological events and remains amounted to little more than inspired guesswork, as there was no scientific basis for testing such proposals.
Technological changes can be used for relative dating of archaeological material.