Classification and description are essential to all archaeological work, and, as in botany and zoology, the first requirement is a good and objective taxonomy.
Second, there is a need for interpretive analysis of the material from which artifacts were made.
Even when the absolute dates are available, we have to supplement the information with relative dating.
The various methods of relative dating are; This method depends on the common observation that the height of the habitational area increases as the people continue to live at the same place.
Excavation often seems to the general public the main and certainly the most glamorous aspect of archaeology; but fieldwork and excavation represent only a part of the archaeologist’s work.
As has already been described, this method also plays a part in cross dating. The archaeologist observes the accumulation of deposits in a gravel pit, a peat bog, in the construction of a barrow, or in accumulated settlements in a tell, and, like the geologists who introduced the principles of stratigraphy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, he can see the succession of layers in the site and can then establish the chronology of different levels of layers relative to each other.Many material remains of man’s past have no dating problem: they may be, like coins, or most coins, self-dating, or they may be dated by man-made dates in written records.But the great and difficult part of the archaeologist’s work is dating material remains that are not themselves dated. Sometimes an object from another culture, the date of which is known (e.g., in the case of pottery, by its style), is found at a previously undated site.Then, using the relative dating principle () the archaeologist reasons that the material found with the imported object is contemporary with it.Conversely, an object from an undated culture may be found at a site whose date is known.Thus, absolute dates could be established for artifacts from the Late Paleolithic Period, the whole of the Mesolithic Period, or Middle Stone Age, and much of the Early Neolithic Period. Because the rate at which this activity decreases in time is known, the approximate age of the material can be determined by comparing it to carbon-14 activity in presently living organic matter.