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SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chronometric dating; absolute dates; absolute chronology; absolute age determination (antonym: relative dating)CATEGORY: chronology; technique DEFINITION: The determination of age with reference to a specific time scale, such as a fixed calendrical system or in years before present (B.P., BP), based on measurable physical and chemical qualities or historical associations such as coins and written records.SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: amino-acid dating; aminostratigraphy; amino-acid racemization, amino acid racemization CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: A method of absolute (chronometric) dating which is hoped to fill the gap between radiocarbon dates and potassium-argon dates.It is used for human and animal bone and other organic material.Clay and rocks contain magnetic minerals and when heated above a certain temperature, the magnetism is destroyed.

The basis for the technique is the fact that almost all amino acids change from optically active to optically passive compounds (racemize) over a period of time.

If there has been significant change in the temperature during the time in which the object is buried, the result is flawed.

Other problems of contamination have occurred, so the technique is not fully established.

This method yields an absolute date within about 50 years."CATEGORY: technique DEFINITION: Any of a serious of methods of analyzing bone samples, especially by measuring fluorine, uranium, nitrogen -- also called the FUN technique -- or by using stratigraphy.

Human remains may be compared with animal bone or fossils found in the same strata.