[Carbon] Dating in the 21st Century

Author: Bob Genheimer, Curator of Archaeology As an archaeologist, one of the most frequent questions that I am asked is “how do you know how old something is?” There are many different answers to that question, mostly depending on what exactly we are trying to date. Knowing how old something is, even if the age is approximate, is important, because without controlling for time, archaeologists can say little about the culture they are studying. In general terms, archaeologists rely on two methods of dating – relative and absolute. As the name implies, relative dating relies on a known relationship between the object you want to date and other objects or features in the same or similar context. So, when we pick up a corner-notched spearpoint with a ground base, we know that it is Early Archaic (ca. 8000-6000 BC) in age because large numbers of […]

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A Museum Without Walls: Technical Aspects

Author: Anne Kling, Manager, Collections Databases In an earlier post, we announced the sharing of over 60,000 of Museum Center’s Invertebrate Paleontology records to the global iDigBio website and explained how this benefits the scientific community. But, how does this actually happen? What steps are involved to place our records on an international research platform? First, our Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology, Dr. Brenda Hunda, and several volunteers and interns completed the cataloging and georeferencing of thousands of IP specimens. Georeferencing is the process of assigning geographic coordinates based on the collection locality. Once we were satisfied with the content and quality of the IP records in our EMu database system that we wanted to submit to iDigBio, we needed to map (or match) our fields to the fields used by iDigBio. Many organizations that deal with biological research, like iDigBio, use the Darwin Core […]

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